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Author Topic: Blood of the Werewolf first five  (Read 1442 times)
Classic Camp
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« on: June 08, 2017, 12:02:54 AM »

Okay, let's give this a shot. Here is the first five of my current WIP.

BLOOD OF THE WEREWOLF
By
Bill Camp
 
CHAPTER 1

April 4, 1815, 7:30 pm, a small English village
“Aaaack!”
A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.
Villagers stopped in their tracks. An old man, long and thin with a white mustache paused from putting logs in his mule-drawn wagon, trying to load up for the chilly late spring evenings, paused and looked up. A full figured woman with long brown hair, wearing a plain worn out frock, walking from the river to her home carrying her wet laundry in a basket on top of her head, and smoking a pipe, stopped in her place and turned. A man on a ladder across the road nailing a shingle back in place on his home, turned and his eyes widened. All were trying to finish up their chores and go inside.
A rotund Italian woman wearing an apron came running from behind her house into the dirt road screaming in her native tongue. Her long black hair flung around as her head turned this way and that. Nobody could make out what she said, but she was pointing toward her backyard. Finally, she remembered to use the language of the land she now lived.
“It’s here! It’s here!” She screamed. “The beast is here! I was placing my pies on the window sill to cool, when he came out of the woods.”
The others’ eyes widened, suspecting the rumors of the beast running through the village were true. The monster others claimed to have seen, and on several occasions was accused of killing livestock. It now appeared all too real. It had not yet killed a human that anyone knew, nor had it ever been seen, and so shortly after the sun had gone down for the evening on an unusually warm English countryside evening.
The village was normally a sleepy place, located in the southeastern English countryside. It consisted of a single dirt road with a row of quaint houses and other buildings on either side. It was a backward sort of place compared to the rest of early 1800s England, where the Romantic era was taking hold. Elsewhere the Lord and vassal system of government was becoming passé and ruling Monarchs were losing ground to more democratic systems, but not here. Here the old way of doing things was as strong as ever.
It was also the sort of place where everyone knew each other, and everyone knew their neighbors’ business. Perhaps that’s why everyone minded their manners. No one ever got into trouble, there were few if any scandals. Rarely did anything happen of any significance at all.
That is until about eighteen months ago when the beast first appeared. Or more accurately that was when the rumors of the beast first began to circulate. It started as strange shadows appearing late at night when the moon was full, then even stranger sounds echoed through the village. Months would pass without a sign of the beast, before someone found a dead cow. About a month later, a devoured chicken was found. They didn’t appear as though they were attacked by any known animal. The footprints came in pairs, not fours, and they didn’t appear human. No one knew what to think. Whispers circulated about man-beasts and mythical creatures come to life.
Until this day. This was the day the villagers would really have something to talk about, and the stories and theories they would share about this now would grow even more fantastic.
That’s when the round woman looked toward her backyard once again as she continued shrieking about what she’d seen. Then she waddled out of the alleyway between her home and that of the old man with the wagon. She could no longer speak because of what she saw.
Just as she got out of the way, the werewolf burst out of the alley and crouched among all four in front of its onlookers. He growled and snarled, looking about, its long snout turning this way and that, as though he were deciding if he should attack or run.
The woman across the street dropped her laundry from her head and ran off as fast she could, her clean clothes spilling onto the dirt road. The man on the ladder fumbled and stumbled up another rung, trying to get as high as possible, raising his hammer as a weapon. The Italian woman ran to the man with the logs, who raised one over his head threateningly.
Never before had the werewolf shown up in so plain of sight to many villagers. Prior to this his existence was a mere rumor. A few had seen his silhouette in the woods in the middle of the night. Others heard his strange howl, not quite like that of a normal wolf. But never had he been known to come out so shortly after the moon rose over the English countryside.
The old man and Italian woman ducked behind the wagon and tossed one log toward the werewolf, gaining the beast’s attention, hoping it might cause the beast to run instead of attack.
Fortunately, it chose the former and ran. Perhaps the werewolf was nervous, like a wild animal caught in civilization for the first time, but it ran farther down the street, away from the people. Within moments it was back in the woods, running wildly, looking back several times at what had just transpired. The villagers gathered around watching, their eyes wide, and their hearts thumping.
The beast continued running through the woods the rest of the night, back and forth, as it did most nights of the full moon. Its long claws knocking branches aside, its fur shaking in its silk shirt, the beast growled and snarled as it ran. Several times it stopped to look around, its ears turning toward different sounds. Once it came to the local stream it paused for a drink, the water cascading over the rocks where only moments before the tall woman was beating her laundry clean. Hour after hour it continued roaming in this manner. It would not be seen by another human eye that night.
Toward dawn, the beast sat on a fallen tree close to its home, the glow of the morning sun slowly rising over the horizon. Birds above chirped in the new day, a stark contrast to the ravenous beast just below them, as the moon faded in the light. A light breeze rustled the leaves overhead.
The beast calmed and bowed its head, then took a deep breath. Slowly the hair on its facial features, hands and arms began falling off in large clumps. He scratched and clawed at himself as the falling hair itched terribly. His fingernails also fell from his hands as his ears shortened.
When the transformation was complete, there sat the tired form of Jonathan Brower, the lord of the village manor, a Knight of English royalty. He could remember some of the things he’d done that night, but the memories were like a dream, evanescent and fading quickly. He remembered enough to know he’d been in the village, and that frightened him. He’d never done that before. He, or more accurately the beast within him, was getting braver. It was losing its timidity. If it continued getting closer to people as it had just done now, surely someone would get hurt or killed and he could not bear that thought. As lord of this village, they were his subjects, his responsibility, as he saw it. Hurting one of them would be like hurting one of his own family.
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samcantcook
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 08:54:07 AM »

Okay, let's give this a shot. Here is the first five of my current WIP.

BLOOD OF THE WEREWOLF
By
Bill Camp
 
CHAPTER 1

April 4, 1815, 7:30 pm, a small English village
“Aaaack!” Best to not start with "dialogue" as it doesn't have any context and is essentially a voice in the darkness.
A woman’s scream rang down in the village, followed by a loud crash.
Villagers stopped in their tracks. An old man, long and thin with a white mustache paused from putting logs in his mule-drawn wagon, trying to load up for the chilly late spring evenings, paused and looked up. A full figured woman with long brown hair, wearing a plain worn out frock, walking from the river to her home carrying her wet laundry in a basket on top of her head, and smoking a pipe, stopped in her place and turned. Woah there!...that's a long string of adjectives. Try keeping the descriptions focused. This just reads like a list. A man on a ladder across the road nailing a shingle back in place on his home, turned and his eyes widened. All were trying to finish up their chores and go inside.
A rotund Italian woman wearing an apron came running from behind her house into the dirt road screaming in her native tongue. Her long black hair flung around as her head turned this way and that. Nobody could make out what she said, but she was pointing toward her backyard. Finally, she remembered to use the language of the land she now lived.
“It’s here! It’s here!” She screamed. “The beast is here! I was placing my pies on the window sill to cool, when he came out of the woods.”
The others’ eyes widened, suspecting the rumors of the beast running through the village were true. The monster others claimed to have seen, and on several occasions was accused of killing livestock. It now appeared all too real. It had not yet killed a human that anyone knew, nor had it ever been seen, and so shortly after the sun had gone down for the evening on an unusually warm English countryside evening.
The village was normally a sleepy place, located in the southeastern English countryside. It consisted of a single dirt road with a row of quaint houses and other buildings on either side. It was a backward sort of place compared to the rest of early 1800s England, where the Romantic era was taking hold. Elsewhere the Lord and vassal system of government was becoming passé and ruling Monarchs were losing ground to more democratic systems, but not here. Here the old way of doing things was as strong as ever.
It was also the sort of place where everyone knew each other, and everyone knew their neighbors’ business. Perhaps that’s why everyone minded their manners. No one ever got into trouble, there were few if any scandals. Rarely did anything happen of any significance at all.
That is until about eighteen months ago when the beast first appeared. Or more accurately that was when the rumors of the beast first began to circulate. It started as strange shadows appearing late at night when the moon was full, then even stranger sounds echoed through the village. Months would pass without a sign of the beast, before someone found a dead cow. About a month later, a devoured chicken was found. They didn’t appear as though they were attacked by any known animal. The footprints came in pairs, not fours, and they didn’t appear human. No one knew what to think. Whispers circulated about man-beasts and mythical creatures come to life. Backstory. We need more immediate conflict before telling us about what has happened. Instead show us what IS happening.
Until this day. This was the day the villagers would really have something to talk about, and the stories and theories they would share about this now would grow even more fantastic.
That’s when the round woman looked toward her backyard once again as she continued shrieking about what she’d seen. Then she waddled out of the alleyway between her home and that of the old man with the wagon. We need character names, because at this point you've lost us. The round woman? The man with the wagon? Better to name them instead of refer to them as a general beings associated with an object or body image. She could no longer speak because of what she saw.
Just as she got out of the way, the werewolf burst out of the alley and crouched among all four in front of its onlookers. He growled and snarled, looking about, its long snout turning this way and that, as though he were deciding if he should attack or run.
The woman across the street dropped her laundry from her head and ran off as fast she could, her clean clothes spilling onto the dirt road. The man on the ladder fumbled and stumbled up another rung, trying to get as high as possible, raising his hammer as a weapon. The Italian woman ran to the man with the logs, who raised one over his head threateningly.
Never before had the werewolf shown up in so plain of sight to many villagers. Prior to this his existence was a mere rumor. A few had seen his silhouette in the woods in the middle of the night. Others heard his strange howl, not quite like that of a normal wolf. But never had he been known to come out so shortly after the moon rose over the English countryside.
The old man and Italian woman ducked behind the wagon and tossed one log toward the werewolf, gaining the beast’s attention, hoping it might cause the beast to run instead of attack.
Fortunately, it chose the former and ran. Perhaps the werewolf was nervous, like a wild animal caught in civilization for the first time, but it ran farther down the street, away from the people. Within moments it was back in the woods, running wildly, looking back several times at what had just transpired. The villagers gathered around watching, their eyes wide, and their hearts thumping.
The beast continued running through the woods the rest of the night, back and forth, as it did most nights of the full moon. Its long claws knocking branches aside, its fur shaking in its silk shirt, the beast growled and snarled as it ran. Several times it stopped to look around, its ears turning toward different sounds. Once it came to the local stream it paused for a drink, the water cascading over the rocks where only moments before the tall woman was beating her laundry clean. Hour after hour it continued roaming in this manner. It would not be seen by another human eye that night.
Toward dawn, the beast sat on a fallen tree close to its home, the glow of the morning sun slowly rising over the horizon. Birds above chirped in the new day, a stark contrast to the ravenous beast just below them, as the moon faded in the light. A light breeze rustled the leaves overhead.
The beast calmed and bowed its head, then took a deep breath. Slowly the hair on its facial features, hands and arms began falling off in large clumps. He scratched and clawed at himself as the falling hair itched terribly. His fingernails also fell from his hands as his ears shortened.
When the transformation was complete, there sat the tired form of Jonathan Brower, the lord of the village manor, a Knight of English royalty. He could remember some of the things he’d done that night, but the memories were like a dream, evanescent and fading quickly. He remembered enough to know he’d been in the village, and that frightened him. He’d never done that before. He, or more accurately the beast within him, was getting braver. It was losing its timidity. If it continued getting closer to people as it had just done now, surely someone would get hurt or killed and he could not bear that thought. As lord of this village, they were his subjects, his responsibility, as he saw it. Hurting one of them would be like hurting one of his own family.

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Classic Camp
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 07:14:11 PM »

Thanks, you answered some of the exact questions I had about this.
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PHCrockett
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 09:08:42 AM »

A few general observations:
I agree with the specific things that samcantcook pointed out. I also wouldn't use "Aaaaack" as the sound of a scream. It makes me think of the Cathy comic strip from the 90's, which is probably not what you were going for.  Smiley

I appreciate that you're trying to start with action, but this section is drowning in backstory and infodumps. We don't need to know the political climate of 19th-century England, nor do we need an exhaustive description of each villager.  Any information that the reader needs to know can be worked into the story later.  Focus on whoever the main character is, which isn't really clear from this passage.

You could probably remove 80-90% of this without losing anything. In fact, it would have more impact if it were shorter.  You have a good hook here, with the werewolf being the lord of the village, and this could be a great start once you tighten things up.
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Classic Camp
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 11:35:35 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, PHCrocket. I will definitely be looking at this again. Karma given.
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B.W.French
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2017, 10:49:15 AM »

My problem with the first sentences :
“Aaaack!”
A woman’s scream rang down in the village"
Is that I don't know if “Aaaack!” is the cry of the Beast or the scream of the woman.
Outside of that, I find the writing very good. Kool-Aid
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MaryL
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 12:43:01 PM »

I agree with B.W. French about the opening. Consider removing "Aaaack!" all together perhaps. Everyone knows what a scream sounds like and it gave it a comedy feel to me.
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I write YA for Penguin USA and romance for Entangled Publishing.
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marylindsey.com  and  http://www.marissaclarke.com
Dribbydrawers
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2017, 01:22:41 PM »

I like your werewolf story, especially it's historical setting. I look forward to reading more.

While I don't have much in terms of writing credentials, a couple of sentences jumped out at me.

"It was also the sort of place where everyone knew each other, and everyone knew their neighbors’ business. Perhaps that’s why everyone minded their manners. No one ever got into trouble, there were few if any scandals. Rarely did anything happen of any significance at all."

Instead of using generalizations (and I know that I have been guilty of this too!), use action to describe like, "It was also the sort of place in which [name of minor character] tucked a fresh flower, that only grew on the other side of the mountain, into her bonnet, that no one didn't notice. And who lived on the other side of the mountain was a topic in itself, for no young, single, headstrong female hadn't ever ventured there alone and not learned about the seedier side of love. One trip was enough for each new young lady, and when they signified their journey, those who had gone before glanced knowingly at one another, bonded in a moment of mutual shame and pleasure. The village men knew nothing of these encounters, though the sight of the flower resonated enough some kind of familiarity, but not enough to use language to describe it, and the memories faded until the next time they saw the flower again. The threat of this damning information was enough to keep all of the participants from gossiping about each other at all, and so an artificial peace settled over the village, but a peace nonetheless, and from it, all profited by not focusing on the evil in each other, but on the day-to-day challenges of scratching an existence."

Anyway, my point is: don't generalize. Use examples, anecdotes, descriptions of events to impress the reader with the generalizations that you are trying to give.
FWIW.
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