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OCEANS DEEP - YA Fantasy (alternate beginning)

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#1 rhwashere

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:33 PM

I decided to get rid of my previous opening, which was more of a prologue, and jump right into the story. It's completely different, and I welcome any new suggestions:

 

 

There was a thud as Ondine dismounted her manta ray and landed solidly on the sea bed. The jolt it sent from her prosthetics into what remained of her thighs made her long for the days when she was weightless.

 

After tying the ray to a post in Proteus Square, she noticed that the strap binding the left prosthetic to her stump had come loose again. She pulled harder this time, making it as tight as she could.

 

Until it hurts, Aegir told her. And even after two years, it did hurt, every time.

 

Once the strap was secure and causing a sufficient amount of pain, she walked around her manta ray, gently skimming her fingers over the long scar that crossed the creature’s belly. She came to a stop once she could see into one of the ray’s eyes.

 

“Stay here, Farrow. You won’t like where I’m going.”

 

Farrow see-sawed in protest, but Ondine gave her a reassuring pat on the fin.

 

“It’ll be all right. I’ll be back before you know it.”

 

She hadn’t walked five steps before she started attracting attention, but that was because Seafolk don’t walk. Their muscular legs, hind-fins, and webbed toes made them natural swimmers.

 

Ondine’s legs, however, were forged in the thermal vents below Aegir’s workshop.

 

As each metallic footfall drew more eyes her way, her hand drifted to the rapier at her side. They would all know who she was; there were few in the kingdom who hadn’t heard of the king’s second daughter, who was half-machine. 

 

 

 

Ok, so this is 256 words. Sue me (please don't).


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...eep-ya-fantasy/


#2 lnloft

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:44 PM

These are the opening words of my novel. I'd like to know what you liked, what you didn't, and whether you would keep reading if you picked this up in a book store and turned to the first page.

 

 

 

Back when she was weightless This is good. It immediately piqued my interest, because right off the bat you're showing us that, well, something is unique here. I don't necessarily know what, but that's fine, and there's a nice evocativeness to being weightless., Ondine used to go out at night and stare up at the water's surface. Fish swimming through clouds of bioluminescent phytoplankton streaked overhead like meteors, and she would dream of their freedom.

 

The palace's western terrace offered the best view. It was there, floating a hundred feet above coral gardens of fluorescent green and red, that she heard the most haunting, terrible, beautiful sound This could be a little better. Feels too much, or overdone.

 

It began as a moan so deep and so powerful that she could feel it in her chest. The moan turned into a series of clicks until finally soaring into an exultant howl.

 

"It is Whalesong," said the soft voice of her father as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

 

Ondine realized her mouth was hanging open and closed it. She listened as the thunderous cries continued from somewhere in the deep.

 

"I haven't heard it since the day you were born, my little Ondine."

 

"What does it mean?"

 

A smile crossed her father's face. "It is a good portent. It means blessings for our kingdom. It means our labors at peace with the Nereid may finally come to fruition."

 

It was one of the only times she'd seen her father, the stoic King Aegean, with tears in his eyes.

 

The next day, representatives from the kingdom of Nereia were to come and negotiate the long-awaited treaty between their peoples. Instead, they came with an army of Sharkriders. You've lost a little bit of steam here. I think this paragraph could be plumped up a little bit, elaborate on the Nereid coming. You've got a lot of One- or two-sentence paragraphs, so I think this would be nice to make a little longer. However you want to do it, whether you talk a bit more about the conflict regarding why they need a peace treaty, or maybe the fanfare that will accompany their arrival, or both. But make this a slightly longer paragraph, and then just make that last sentence its own paragraph. I think elaborating on how nice it will be when the Nereid arrive will add some punch then to that last sentence, setting up the contradiction. Food for thought, anyway.

 

What followed, Ondine would remember with vivid clarity Not really a fan of these sorts of lines. Especially if you go with my advice about the above paragraph, you can and should probably cut it.

Overall, you've got nice voice, and you start with a good line. I'm assuming these characters are merepeople or similar? I honestly just had a couple things, because I didn't want to mess with your voice.


If you liked my feedback, I'd appreciate yours.

Ouroboros (science fantasy): 250 words


#3 rhwashere

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:09 PM

Thank you so much, Inloft! Those suggestions are hugely helpful and exactly why I posted on this forum. Now, if only I could get that kind of feedback for the rest of the manuscript... ;)

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...eep-ya-fantasy/


#4 rhwashere

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 07:40 PM

I just edited the first post to reflect a completely different beginning to the novel. As always, I greatly appreciate whatever feedback you can give me!


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...eep-ya-fantasy/


#5 Sataris

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 06:34 PM

I decided to get rid of my previous opening, which was more of a prologue, and jump right into the story. It's completely different, and I welcome any new suggestions: thumbs up on dumping the prologue. I did the same and have had a lot more success since.

 

 

There was a thud as Ondine dismounted her manta ray and landed solidly can you use a stronger verb here to avoid the adverb? Crashed down onto the seabed, etc? on the sea bed. The jolt it of the impact, or something like that, otherwise the reference might get mixed up as to whether "it" refers to the seabed or the impact sent from her prosthetics into what remained of her thighs made her long for the days when she was weightless. I like the weightless bit

 

After tying the ray to a post in Proteus Square could probably dump the proper name for now, or describe it a bit more if you need to introduce it here, she noticed that the strap binding the left prosthetic to her stump had come loose again. She pulled harder this time, making it as tight as she could.

 

Until it hurts, Aegir had told her. And even after two years, it still did hurt, every time.

 

Once the strap was secure and causing a sufficient amount of pain, she walked stronger verb - clomped her way around, etc around her manta ray, gently skimming already strong verb here no need for the adverb her fingers over the long scar that crossed the creature’s belly. She came to a stop once she could see into one of the ray’s eyes.

 

“Stay here, Farrow. You won’t like where I’m going.”

 

Farrow see-sawed can't decide if i like this or not - not sure the image is totally clear in protest, but Ondine gave her a reassuring pat on the fin. which fin? pectoral? or maybe just left/right. if that's hard to convey you could also go between his wide-set eyes or something like that.

 

“It’ll be all right. I’ll be back before you know it.”

 

She hadn’t walked five steps before she started attracting attention, but that was because Seafolk don’t didn't walk. Their muscular legs, hind-fins, and webbed toes made them natural swimmers. I like the didn't walk thing, but i feel like it would be stronger if you just showed us all the people swimming around her while she's stuck on the ocean floor.

 

Ondine’s legs, however, were forged in the thermal vents below Aegir’s workshop. love this

 

As each metallic footfall drew more eyes her way, her hand drifted to the rapier at her side. They would all know Everyone knew who she was; there were few in the kingdom who hadn’t heard of the king’s second daughter, who was half-machine. But that didn't stop them from staring.

 

 

 

Ok, so this is 256 words. Sue me (please don't).

 

Still think the idea of somebody walking around the ocean floor is super cool. I'd definitely dump the adverbs - ideally you wont have a single one of those in the first 5 pages you send (though of course rules exist to be broken-so long as they're broken well).

 

I don't think the tense issues I corrected are necessarily wrong, as it's clear that the MC is reflecting and so on, but I always feel that if the sentence reads the same in the past tense and everything else is in the past, then it's less jarring for the reader if you stay consistent.

 

One thing that I'd like to see a tiny bit of elaboration on is the manta ray itself - they're like 20+ feet across, right? Feels like we could use a description about just how big it actually is to awe us that she rides it early on.

 

But yeah, overall I'd keep reading - my biggest concerns would be the tense stuff and the adverbs, but the concept is cool enough to keep me intrigued. 


If I've been helpful, feel free to drop me a line about my query here.


#6 rhwashere

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 07:02 PM

Thanks! That's really helpful feedback. I think I have an adverb problem... don't they make some sort of cream for that?


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...eep-ya-fantasy/


#7 lnloft

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 07:25 PM

I decided to get rid of my previous opening, which was more of a prologue, and jump right into the story. It's completely different, and I welcome any new suggestions:

 

 

There was a thud as Ondine dismounted her manta ray and landed solidly on the sea bed. There is a nice piece here that you are immediately setting up a unique world. The jolt it sent from her prosthetics into what remained of her thighs made her long for the days when she was weightless.

 

After tying the ray to a post in Proteus Square, she noticed that the strap binding the left prosthetic to her stump had come loose again. She pulled harder this time, making it as tight as she could.

 

Until it hurts, Aegir told her. And even after two years, it did hurt, every time.

 

Once the strap was secure and causing a sufficient amount of pain, she walked around her manta ray, gently skimming her fingers over the long scar that crossed the creature’s belly Hmm. The one thing is I generally picture rays as having their bellies downward, so I'm not quite sure how to picture her doing this. She came to a stop once she could see into one of the ray’s eyes.

 

“Stay here, Farrow. You won’t like where I’m going.”

 

Farrow see-sawed in protest, but Ondine gave her a reassuring pat on the fin.

 

“It’ll be all right. I’ll be back before you know it.”

 

She hadn’t walked five steps before she started attracting attention, but that was because Seafolk don’t walk. Their muscular legs, hind-fins, and webbed toes made them natural swimmers.

 

Ondine’s legs, however, were forged in the thermal vents below Aegir’s workshop. While this is obviously important for character- and world-building, it feels a little clunky.

 

As each metallic footfall drew more eyes her way, her hand drifted to the rapier at her side. They would all know who she was; there were few in the kingdom who hadn’t heard of the king’s second daughter, who was half-machine I'm debating on this. I've got the impression that the only thing she has are the prosthetic legs, which would make this a fairly extreme exageration. On the other hand, she's probably bitter and so thinks of herself this way, even though it's extreme. So I guess the question is it worth the risk of making the reader think she's more mutilated than she is. Oh, and then this also leads to the question of is this consistent with the society. If they have machines, then cool, it's not too weird, although on the other hand, as a reader most of us are more likely to associate someone being "half-machine" with being a cyborg, and that doesn't seem right, either. So a lot to ponder on literally two words.

 

 

 

Ok, so this is 256 words. Sue me (please don't).

I do love the world you're building here. While obviously merefolk are done, you've got the nice turn of not actually having them be merefolk. It's a nice, unique setting.

 

I did love the opening line to your original piece, though. The "When she was weightless" evoked quite a bit, with I think the most important bit that I didn't even mention: it immediately establishes that something has changed. "When she was weightless" immediately tells us that she isn't weightless anymore. We don't know straight away what that means, but it was cool enough to really catch my interest. Your second sentence here that you end with "long for the days when she was weightlessly" just doesn't have the same impact. I do understand why you want to start with jumping right in, but I think it could work very well to keep what you had before as a really short prologue, pretty much no more than what you showed us plus some edits. Don't need to even really tell us what happened to Odine, or only hint, so then when you jump two years in the future with the story proper, we're kind of like, "Oh, dang, that conflict with Nereia really screwed things up for Odine, I wonder how that happened?" Plus, by keeping that other piece, I think you could ease up a little on a few expositional pieces in this section. Anyway, that's my thoughts, but I think it would be really cool.

 

I think I have an adverb problem... don't they make some sort of cream for that?

Pretty sure it's actually a pill.


If you liked my feedback, I'd appreciate yours.

Ouroboros (science fantasy): 250 words






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