Hope its OK to revive this thread. My apologies if you guys aren’t looking for feedback on these openings any more since it looks like it’s been awhile.
@Jimmy T. Malice:
I’d definitely keep reading based on this beginning. You did a good job of crafting an interesting setting and filling it with enough detail -such as the passing comments about gods and parlor tricks- to make me want to know more without making it a chore to read through.
If I had to make a suggestion: maybe give the main character a detail of memory or two, especially when she cries that single tear. Maybe the name of a friend she knows she won’t see again or something? Seems like the sort of thing that might be on her mind at that point, and would help create a more personal interest in the character herself. Other than that if I were to nitpick I might try rewording in a couple of places, but nothing jumped out at me.
The writing style was nice: My attention was on the story and not the words, if that makes any sense. As I said before: I’d definitely want to see what happens next.
Overall, yeah: I’d want to keep reading to see how the meeting goes. However, the phrasing of some of your sentences confused me. I think I understood what you were trying to say in each of them, but it took me out of the story a minute to figure it out, and if I wasn’t as interested in sci-fi I can see someone just giving up on it. The first thing that stood out to me was that sometimes plurals didn’t match: For example, in the very first sentence, I would make ‘mission’ ‘missions’ because, well, I’m assuming diplomats go on more than one in their careers. The second is wordiness. Hunt down unnecessary words and eliminate them.
My second read through was much more enjoyable than the first because I already kind of knew what was going on.
Also: in the second to last paragraph, when you talk about precipitation on his brow… pretty sure you meant perspiration?
That being said, you did a good job of making me picture a creepy, foreboding atmosphere and of introducing sparing details without explaining things in an ‘info-dumpy’ way. You give me enough to have some idea of where I am, but leave enough unsaid that I want to read more to figure out some of the rules of this world. The bit about the diplomat fighting with a Styrofoam sword was a nice characterization touch as well.
This is an intriguing set up, but I’m not sure how far I’d get. It would depend on how much longer the ‘newscast’ sections go on, I think. It’s a good device for providing some information about the setting, but giving a word by word report has the potential to become boring. Perhaps the news sections could be relayed from Che’s point of view, so we only get the details he picks up on, or his interpretation of the events? Or if not maybe try to trim down the news segments. I liked the non-radio bits just fine, just the right amount of detail, though I was confused as to what the red Mickey Mouse box had to do with the contraband radio.
Also a side question: Wasn’t ‘Che’ just Che’s nickname? So, is Che this clone’s given name, or is it his ‘nickname’ as well?
OK. Here's the first scene of the story I've just gotten around to finishing:
Lilith was picking herbs for dinner when she noticed an unusually large rabbit watching her. Pausing in her work, she regarded the creature. The rabbit stared back at her, an ear twitching. Normally Lilith was fond of rabbits, no matter how much Victor derided them as garden-destroying pests, but something about this one unnerved her. It was the nature of such creatures to flee when spotted, or at least attempt to hide. This particular rabbit, however, didn’t seem at all perturbed at being seen. Wiggling its nose, it hopped towards her, crushing several ferns under its bulk. Lilith leapt to her feet, at once alarmed and struck by the absurdity of her fear. After all, it was only a rabbit. The creature bounded toward her again and, with a squeal of surprise, Lilith dropped her basket and backed away. The creature took another leap and Lilith ran, her elfin feet carrying her nimbly through the branches of the forest. She ran along roots and jumped over rocks leaving hardly a leaf bobbing to betray her presence. The rabbit pounded after her, snapping a path through the undergrowth as it pursued her.
The startled girl soon reached a clearing, shaded by the branches of a gigantic tree growing in its center. She ran between a pair of beehive shaped huts that squatted, like mushrooms, among the tendrils of mountainous roots that grew from the base of the tree. At the top of the root ridge stood Victor, holding a basket of ripe fruit from his prized orchard. Lilith wasted no time scrambling up towards the one eyed gardener, who blinked in astonishment as she hid behind him.
“Eh? What’s the matter?” he barked, glancing sharply from her to the forest. Lilith, still struck by how absurd it would be to admit what chased, merely pointed at the creature that squatted, so bold and unrabbit-like, between two of the huts.
Before either gardener or pest could react to each other, a high, rasping cough echoed through the clearing. All five eyes turned to stare at the entrance of a small cottage, built into a cavernous hollow that opened between two of the tree’s largest roots. An old man stood there, leaning on a gnarled, black wooden staff that seemed almost twice as thick as the arm that held it. One would have been excused for thinking him a scarecrow, his brown limbs nothing more than dried out branches and his beard a bit of sheep’s wool, had it not been for the bright green eyes that flashed above his protruding peak of a nose.
“What’s all this commotion about then, eh?” he demanded his high, reedy voice carrying all about the hollow. His eyebrows jumped an impressive height, disappearing under the hood of his cloak. “I asked you to fetch water, Victor. And you, Lilith, this is most unlike you.”
“Look!” Lilith said, pointing to the monstrous rabbit. The old man turned in time to see the bob tail of the rabbit as it fled back into the woods. The green eyes narrowed and, faster than a frog’s tongue, the old man sprang forward, swinging the staff that seemed too thick for his feeble arms to carry. Lilith’s eyes followed the staff’s movement, to the forest. The rabbit had vanished, in its place the bare back of a young man was quickly lost under the trees.
“Eitri?” Lilith called.
“I sent him to get the water,” Victor said, “He’s been neglecting his chores for magic again.”
“The upstart,” the old man said, leaning on his staff, “He’s been experimenting. I shall have to have words with him. Not that it does any good. Sometimes I wonder if our Eitri’s any common sense at all. The boy seems steadfast on refusing to learn anything practical.”
“He’s never turned himself into a rabbit before,” Lilith said.
“He’s never done any of his chores on time either,” Victor murmured, “now that’s a trick I’d like to see him master.”
But Lilith was already scrambling down the roots of the tree, all fear forgotten.
“Go and bring the fool back Lilith, and see that he doesn’t forget the water!” the old man called. “Tell him if he does, I’ll give him long ears and a bob tail again, this time, permanently!”
“I shall!” Lilith called, turning briefly to wave. Once again her body slipped through the forest, her ears alert, until she heard muffled curses coming near the lake that sat below the great tree. Making her way between the branches, she peered down the shore to see her brother hastily pulling his robes about him. He stood up, still scowling, and held his hand over a twisted piece of wood that lay in the mud. Glaring, he nudged it lightly with its feet.
“What are you doing?” Lilith asked, emerging from the shadows to approach her brother. Eitri directed his scowl towards her.
“Why’d you have to run?” he demanded, his empty hand still held over his staff, “I wanted you to help me change back without getting them involved. Now Master’s sure to lecture me about being impatient again.”
“Sorry,” Lilith said, shrugging. “You scared me.”
“Scared of a rabbit,” Eitri muttered, “pathetic.” He glared at the staff, which refused to rise on its own, and finally slipped his foot under the reluctant piece of wood and kicked it upright. Catching the side of the staff he leaned against it, staring out across the water. Lilith sat beside him on the root of a tree, dangling her feet in the water.
“Master says you need to bring the water.”
“I know, I know,” Eitri sighed. “I’ll fetch it soon enough. I wanted,” he added, “to bring it all in one trip. That’s how I ended up…” he fell silent with another scowl.
“As a rabbit?” Lilith asked.
“Yes,” Eitri glowered. “It was supposed to be an elephant.”
edited 16th Jun '13 6:24:36 PM by LittleBillyHaggardy
Nobody wants to be a pawn in the game of life. What they don't realize is the game of life is Minesweeper.