QueryTracker Community
November 21, 2017, 11:25:12 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Note: This forum uses different usernames and passwords than those of the main QueryTracker site. 
Please register if you want to post messages.

This forum is also accessible by the public (including search engines).
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: HONOR, YA SF, revised first chapter (new version, reply #6)  (Read 4679 times)
maryj59
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 28
Offline Offline

Posts: 155


WWW
« on: June 09, 2016, 10:58:42 PM »

Here's the first chapter, for those who are interested. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE
Renunciation

When his cousin aimed the holocam at him, Kiril felt as if she had struck him. It was real now; the preparation was over. His stomach tightened and he clenched his jaw so hard that it ached, biting down on his pain as a man does when he tries not to cry out.

 But then he entered the place he went to before duels. The universe fell away, and he was alone with the act, and he and the act were one. For one more moment, he was a Telaka soldier with a clear task before him. He tilted his chin to let Thanike know he was ready. Then he began to speak.

I, who was once Kiril Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name. He who was my father, Varen Kelesta, is dead to me. I do not know him. The woman Lirith, who was my aunt, is dead to me. The man Keren, who is her husband, is dead to me. . . .

The declaration was long. It had to be. Kiril named every member of his household, from his great--aunt to the youngest servant child. Then the animals the serfs kept for their milk and fur. Then the house, the land, every field and all the crops. There must be nothing omitted, no way for the police to take their revenge on his family, once he had become a traitor and criminal. His voice shook when he came to the names of Merike and Skel, their two favorite cousins, but he kept going. It seemed to the girl that he would speak forever; the first of the moons had already risen, just ahead of the sunset. They must finish soon. Then she heard him say, "All these are dead to me. I have no clan, no land, no home. I am outcast and nameless. I am dead."

She pressed the switch to stop recording, and Kiril came to stand beside her, reaching for the camera. "Here," she said to him, "push this up to record." 

 "Is there anything else I should know?"

"No. Just that switch; push down to stop."  He raised his chin and she walked forward and turned to face the recorder's eye. The sun was a red streak, and the ruins cast long shadows behind her. She shivered.

"Niki?" Kiril said. She exhaled in a sort of sob, took a deep breath and jerked her chin at him. She could do it. She had to. And, when she began to speak, the words came out perfectly, just as she had intended them to. "I, who was once Thanike Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name."

The boy, Kiril, kept his eyes fixed on his cousin. It seemed to him it might give her strength if he looked steadily at her, and, indeed, she was looking into his eyes as she spoke, not at the eye of the camera. Her voice shook as she named her parents, and he gasped slightly in sympathy, but she went on. He could tell that she would finish, just as he had. They had already done their mourning; the time for that was over. They were dead now, and the dead do not mourn.


« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 05:56:07 PM by maryj59 » Logged
thieleas
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 65
Offline Offline

Posts: 243



« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2016, 12:47:48 PM »

Hi, Mary!

I just wanted to pop in and say I really like where this is headed. There is clear tension, and I'm left with questions that make me eager to read on. I also, really love that last sentence, very powerful. But I think you could expand the focus a little further in this scene. I initially defaulted to a clinical, sort of barren, white-walled room type setting, but you later mention a red sun and ruins...maybe just work a bit more of the setting throughout. You could also include some other minor details like what they're wearing, what they look like...are they unkempt as if they've been on the run, etc.. You get the idea. Good luck with this! Thumbs Up
Logged

JaeDarcy
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 6
Offline Offline

Posts: 38



« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 03:40:28 PM »

Here's the first chapter, for those who are interested. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE
Renunciation

When his cousin aimed the holocam at him, Kiril felt as if she had struck him. (I think it is me, but I had to read this three times.. I think I was first reading Kiril as a feminine name.) It was real now; the preparation was over. His stomach tightened and he clenched his jaw so hard that it ached, biting down on his pain as a man does when he tries not to cry out. (Is he a man, or a boy as you state below? Perhaps he's a boy emulating a man? Not entirely clear.)

 But then he entered the place he went to before duels. The universe fell away, and he was alone with the act, and he and the act were one. For one more moment, he was a Telaka soldier with a clear task before him. He tilted his chin to let Thanike know he was ready. Then he began to speak.

I, who was once Kiril Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name. He who was my father, Varen Kelesta, is dead to me. I do not know him. The woman Lirith, who was my aunt, is dead to me. The man Keren, who is her husband, is dead to me. . . . (Is there a reason you're not using quotes? Even a little dash --like in Cold Mountain-- would be useful, I think! EDIT: Okay, based on the quotes below he's not saying this? I'd reconsider. )

The declaration was long. It had to be. Kiril named every member of his household, from his great--aunt to the youngest servant child. Then the animals the serfs kept for their milk and fur. Then the house, the land, every field and all the crops. There must be nothing omitted, no way for the police to take their revenge on his family, once he had become a traitor and criminal. His voice shook when he came to the names of Merike and Skel, their two favorite cousins, but he kept going. It seemed to the girl that he would speak forever; the first of the moons had already risen, just ahead of the sunset. They must finish soon. Then she heard him say, "All these are dead to me. I have no clan, no land, no home. I am outcast and nameless. I am dead." (This is smoothly done exposition and place-setting. Nice!)

She pressed the switch to stop recording, and Kiril came to stand beside her, reaching for the camera. "Here," she said to him, "push this up to record."  (I'm intrigued by the mix of pastoral/medieval/tribal and high tech.)

 "Is there anything else I should know?"

"No. Just that switch; push down to stop."  (I think you may want a para break here?) He raised his chin and she walked forward and turned to face the recorder's eye. The sun was a red streak, and the ruins cast long shadows behind her. She shivered.

"Niki?" Kiril said. She exhaled in a sort of sob, (This confused me about gender again and I had to re-look to make sure I'd got it right. Maybe a para between his moment and hers?) took a deep breath and jerked her chin at him. She could do it. She had to. (This feels like a POV shift...A bit confusing.)  And, when she began to speak, the words came out perfectly, just as she had intended them to. "I, who was once Thanike Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name."

The boy, Kiril, kept his eyes fixed on his cousin. (Something weird happens with the preceding sentence that is jarring. You shift from a close third person to a very distant one, as if you're reintroducing him.) It seemed to him it might give her strength if he looked steadily at her, and, indeed, she was looking into his eyes as she spoke, not at the eye of the camera. Her voice shook as she named her parents, and he gasped slightly in sympathy, but she went on. He could tell that she would finish, just as he had. They had already done their mourning; the time for that was over. They were dead now, and the dead do not mourn.




I'd say overall this is intriguing and smoothly written! See my inline questions/suggestions above. Thanks for sharing. =)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 03:42:06 PM by JaeDarcy » Logged
TigerAsh
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 14
Offline Offline

Posts: 148



« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2016, 05:17:48 PM »

This definitely held my interest!
It's really well-written, and I can tell that danger is looming around the corner!

I agree that you could add some description for what Kiril and Niki look like (not just in terms of race, eye color, hair color, etc. ... but also maybe what clothes they're wearing--are they new and expensive-looking, old and ripped, etc). Also, for some reason I picture them as having cuts and/or dirt on their faces, I don't know why.

Keep up the great work! Smiley
Logged
maryj59
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 28
Offline Offline

Posts: 155


WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2016, 11:42:33 PM »

I just wanted to thank everyone for their input! Am waiting to hear from an editor; she actually liked this part, but I'll have to see what she made of the rest of it. But I wanted to tell you all I do finally understand what you mean by the "white room" setting. It's hard for me to imagine how I could sneak in more physical description of the kids, though that's one reason I shift point of view. But I had a little bit of scene setting in an earlier draft - Niki steadying the camera on a bit of broken wall because her hands were trembling. I'm thinking I might put that back in. I can definitely see why you want more description. TigerAsh, it's interesting that you imagine dirt and/or cuts! They are actually doing this in the middle of a holiday, and would be fairly well dressed. But you find that out later.

Oh - about the quotes: what I'd actually done was to put all the formal renunciation in italics. Somehow that didn't carry over when I pasted the chapter in, and I forgot to add them!

Thanks again! Off to look at some more of your stuff now-
Logged
Dreamcatcher21
Newbie
*

Karma: 3
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 09:41:40 PM »

I enjoyed this opening. There's enough here to make me want to see more.
Logged
maryj59
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 28
Offline Offline

Posts: 155


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 11:26:23 PM »

Thanks, everyone! I just attended a workshop where most of my fellow authors did seem to feel I had "white room syndrome" going on. So I tweaked this chapter a bit. Here is the result so far.

       On the twenty-ninth day of the month of New Sun, Kiril Tesurik and his cousin Thanike declared themselves dead before the gods.

   Kiril arrived at the meeting place first. The sun was just starting to set, and the broken walls cast long shadows. He stood in the central circle in the middle of the ruined city and waited for his cousin to bring the holocam.

   He didn’t have long to wait. Before he had time to wonder when she would arrive, Thanike slipped down the hill and into the ruins. “Do you have it?” he asked. She said nothing, but tilted her chin up in response. Then she shivered. There was a slight, chill wind stirring the dry grasses, but Thanike, like him, wore a new quilted coat. Her parents had given it to her for the festival. It was tied closed and her heavy dark hair was tucked under the hood. Kiril knew it was not the wind that made her shiver.

   “I’ll go first,” he told her, and she raised her chin again. Her eyes were too bright, as if the wind were drawing tears from them. He went to stand in front of a broken wall, and she managed to speak.

   “Not there. I need the light behind me.”  They changed places. Thanike balanced the little palm-sized holocam on the wall. Her hands were shaking.There was a long pause, during which Kiril could hear the grasses rustling in the rising wind. So much whipgrass, and anat, too. A good place for game. Their cousin Skel had said so four years ago, when they'd stumbled across the ruins. If he were here—

   No. Thank all the gods Skel wasn’t here.

   He jerked his chin at Thanike to let her know he was ready. Then he began to speak

   I, who was once Kiril Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name. He who was my father, Varen Kelesta, is dead to me. I do not know him. The woman Lirith, who was my aunt, is dead to me. The man Keren, who is her husband, is dead to me. . . .

      The declaration was long. It had to be. Kiril named every member of his household, from his great—aunt to the youngest servant child. Then the animals the serfs kept for their milk and fur. Then the house, the land, every field and all the crops. There must be nothing omitted, no way for the police to take their revenge on his family, once he had become a traitor and criminal. His voice shook when he came to the names of Merike and Skel, their two favorite cousins, but he kept going. It seemed to Thanike that he would speak forever; the first of the moons had already risen, just ahead of the sunset. They must finish soon. Then she heard him say, "All these are dead to me. I have no clan, no land, no home. I am outcast and nameless. I am dead."

     She pressed the switch to stop recording, and Kiril came to stand beside her, reaching for the camera. "Here," she said to him, “push this up to record.” 

   "Is there anything else I should know?"

   "No. Just that switch; push down to stop.”  He raised his chin and she walked forward and turned to face the recorder’s eye. The sun was a red streak at the edge of the sky, and the slight wind had freshened. She shivered.

     “Niki?” Kiril said. She exhaled in a sort of sob, took a deep breath and jerked her chin at him. She could do it. She had to. And, when she began to speak, the words came out perfectly, just as she had intended them to. "I, who was once Thanike Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name."

     The boy, Kiril, kept his eyes fixed on his cousin. It seemed to him it might give her strength if he looked steadily at her, and, indeed, she was looking into his eyes as she spoke, not at the eye of the camera. Her voice shook as she named her parents, and he gasped slightly in sympathy, but she went on. He could tell that she would finish, just as he had. They had already done their mourning; the time for that was over. They were dead now, and the dead do not mourn.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 03:13:43 PM by maryj59 » Logged
Munley
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 30
Offline Offline

Posts: 130


Atlantic Canada


« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 05:24:29 AM »

This isn't my genre, so keep that in mind.

I'm confused about the ruined city. At first I pictured a place where a whole population lives in the aftermath of some catastrophic event, and the people as a whole are left picking up the pieces of their lives.
     Even though you don't mention anyone witnessing Kiril and Thanike making their declaration to the gods, I took for granted that the people of the city were present because the meeting place is described as being "in the central circle in the middle of the ruined city" and you mention the quilted coat T's parents had given her for the festival. So this ritual is serious, and it is part of a larger festival.
    Later, the ruined city is mentioned this way:
. . . So much whipgrass, and anat, too. A good place for game. Their cousin Skel had said so four years ago, when they'd stumbled across the ruins.


That made me think, wait! This isn't a serious. These kids are not in some post-apocolyptic scene among their people. It's kids making up a sci-fi scenario at the remains of some abandoned structure they came upon  someplace out of town, and their having fun filming it.
   But as the scene goes on, it does seem, once again, to be a serious undertaking.
----------
Not sure if you mean it this way, but there are some subtle things that create the impression that, of course, the boy is naturally braver than the girl, and he has to pave the way to give her the courage to proceed in the first place and not back down in the middle of it. They don't seem equally committed to doing this. Nothing wrong with one of them being someone reluctant, but it could easily come off as a  stereotypical gender difference you might not intend.

-------
Body language. You might want to consider some less standard ways of showing their decisions and feelings at any given point than references to body parts -- chin, hands, head. Between the two characters, there are quite a few chin actions.
    Some of this is fine, but you may be missing opportunities to do some original, less generic, things instead. For example, you might want to do more with the K taking his place before the wall, not just saying "he went to stand" there. Seems to  me that it would be a key moment to reveal more of him in ways that make him unique. More could be done with moment the hologram cam passes from one to the other.  Something that gives us a better idea of what makes each of them them the individuals they are.

----------
Instead of so many mentions of "she saw, she heard" and "he saw, he heard" what the other person did-- which we can assume since they are both present -- you could get more dramatic mileage by giving a reaction/response to what each one heard, or not bothering to say they saw or heard it.

------
Overall, I think you've laid down a good opening with an interesting progression of actions. Some places could be fleshed out more.
    For me, it is less helpful to think of "avoiding white-room syndrome" than to ask where there might be more little opportunities to reveal each character. I do like some of the things you've done with the interplay of characters and setting, including the changing winds. There are some definite improvements in that regard over the first draft.
Logged
maryj59
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 28
Offline Offline

Posts: 155


WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 01:37:25 PM »

Thanks for looking, Munley! You've given me a lot to think about; thus the slow reply. Have a good weekend.
Logged
B.W.French
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 10
Offline Offline

Posts: 34


« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 10:56:09 AM »

Hi!
Just a small comment. I think that :"as a man does when he tries not to cry out" could be left out. The description before it, makes the reader aware of that.  Kool-Aid
Logged
maryj59
Sr. Member
****

Karma: 28
Offline Offline

Posts: 155


WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2017, 10:34:15 PM »

Thanks! I have eliminated that sentence in the rewrite. Did you see that?
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!