Author Topic: first five pages of Blood Red Arrow, by Sullivan  (Read 270 times)

Offline Sullivan

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first five pages of Blood Red Arrow, by Sullivan
« on: November 20, 2022, 11:37:13 PM »
BLOOD RED ARROW
A Novel by DJ Sullivan
Chapter 1 LEAVING THE WAR BEHIND, 1918

What has happened feels as though it makes sense. That said, putting it all in order and words is extremely challenging. I think… this is the best place to begin the tell of our oddly intertwined stories, despite the fact we’d be more comfortable if the magnifying glass was pointed elsewhere. And truth be known, a prism may actually give a better read of them….

Luke perceived his gallant horse, his esteemed brother with four legs, amongst others on a high ridge during a violent thunderstorm. The rain was so drenching he couldn’t see the barn from the house although he could throw a rock from the porch and hit it. He knew better than to venture out in this mess, but as was his way he didn’t heed this familiar voice. Lightening struck near him numerous times as he made his way toward them, some strikes so close his body tingled.

Ironically, the strikes gave him a temporary light to view his farm, the horses tightly spaced against the rain. As he neared the ridge he still couldn’t see them without the help of a flash. Suddenly, violently, the worst occurred. An intense bolt hit the gathering and within an instant he saw them move in odd ways, some possibly collapsing, others listing.  The light of the next strike showed him what he feared so fervidly. They were all on the ground, not a movement between them. Luke’s heart exploded within his chest. He must get to Connor, but… he… couldn’t… get off the ground, and melted into the Earth. 

A fellow soldier from across the aisle grabbed Luke’s shoulder and shook him. “Bloke,” he said lightly, “you were dreaming, yelling out loud and thrashin’ about. Sounded like the devil was inside you, hand-to-hand combat, fighting for your soul. You ok?” Luke hesitated, then nodded affirmatively, implying his thanks.

Luke’s revery started by trying to recall a cherished memory of his wife, playful as ever in the rain. I’d like to tell you he could smell her hair as soon as he closed his eyes, but he was dolefully bothered, even maddened, by the fact he could not.  Then the incident with the horses started growing in his mind and took over.

While the comfort of dry, clean clothes, a full belly, and the endless rhythms of the train tried to ease Luke into repose, the pungent smells of burnt or rotting flesh, and the incessant, maniacal shriek of incoming shells were ever foremost on his mind.  And sulfur. A woman walked through the rail cars the day before, giving a flower and a kiss of gratitude to every GI, but even the simple flower smelled like sulfur to him.

He wrote Molly a letter explaining his return plans and schedule. It contained an admonition, or perhaps a confession, that he felt vile and dirty, like he was bringing some of the war home with him, so he explained that, as his custom, when he reached Albany he would hike home for a few days. As much as he missed her, he wanted time alone upon the land, amidst the trees and hills, pensive and penitent, to see if he could find anything resembling the old Luke. He must find the old Luke.

Before beginning his hike, he gave away what little he possessed, save his heavy Army jacket and the contents of its pockets, and set out westward.  A blustery, cold day nipped at him, though winter had barely begun.  His trek through the city should have been an easy one, but every step seemed deliberate, mechanical.  It was hours before he reached the outskirts of the big city, and nightfall was fast approaching, so he stopped at a bed and breakfast even though a sign read ‘sorry- full house’.  No beds were available, but he accepted a sofa, unsure why he’d lost the wind in his sails. He ate a leftover sandwich, nursed a warm beer, and curled up to a short, sporadic sleep.

Generally gregarious and light-hearted, Luke became withdrawn during the war, estranged from his fellow pawns. As the months at war grew long, his love of family and home turned from a lifejacket into a heavy weight.  He became driven to defeat the enemy and ached to end the inhumane hostilities posthaste.  It seemed as if normalcy and civility were going to slip away forever. 

Despite his reticence, and his growing estrangement, his swelling mania to inflict massive hurt upon the enemy was contagious, as the men around him recognized and drew from Luke’s person and conviction.  A master of horses, Luke could have easily drawn an assignment somewhere along the supply line, delivering and staging the war horses rather than manning the trenches, but it was his own decision to fight with rifle in hand.  His Brigade became a tornado where there had previously been an occasional gale.  They took it upon themselves to personally hasten the end of the war.

Before the sun came up, he woke to the smells of fresh coffee and biscuits, and the sizzle of bacon.  He was caught off-guard, somehow surprised, as if someone let him in on a family secret. Breakfast, any breakfast, was a gift, but one made at home, straight from the handiwork of one person, for the enjoyment of another, was nothing less than a Godsend!  A smile emerged within him.  The pleasant old woman of the house would not hear of payment from a veteran of that great war and sent him on his way with pockets stuffed of sandwiches and beer.

Luke made better time than the day before.  He knew this road through the countryside and took pleasure in the familiarity.  He was headed in the direction of Ithaca, at the base of the Finger Lakes.  Formed by glaciers, if viewed from the Heavens, the Lakes must have appeared as south to north scratch marks upon the Earth, perhaps made by the fingers of God. And the sunshine helped, for its beauty after the gloom of the last few days couldn’t be denied.  Thoughts of family danced in his head a few times, surprising him, as his routine anymore was to look at these moments as nothing more than a photograph, viewed from a distance, but today he actually watched a few play out! 

His brisk pace improved his mood as well, for it required him to breath hard, and concentrate on each footstep, leaving little room in his head for the questions that ever haunted him.  Then midday his thoughts turned to his brother-in-law Jonathon, the best friend Luke had ever known. Luke knew from Molly’s letters that Jon was home from Europe already, badly injured by the direct hit of a shell upon his wretched trench position.  Jon managed to dive around a bend to save his life but lost his entire right foot in an instant.  What a tragedy!  Still, the severity of Jon’s injury hadn’t soaked in completely, for Luke had become numb to slaughter, expecting the fighting men to be literally, immediately torn to pieces. It was going to happen to every one of them.

Luke shared many a trek such as this one with Jon in days past, though most of the time on horseback.  Doubtful they could ever do it again, even though Jon would find a way if anyone could!  Jon was one of those people who made everything work out, in a way that highlighted the good that could be found hidden within any problem, no matter how obscure.  And joke!  Jon’s sense of humor was uncanny.  Surely, he could see inside people’s minds as he entertained them.  Luke was especially thankful of Jon’s character as a husband to Annie, and to their daughter Hannah.  Simply put, he loved the man dearly.  Luke often kidded that Molly was his other half on his right, and Jon was his other half on his left.

A dark and moonless night set in, so hiking any farther was pointless, unless he purposely wanted to sprain an ankle.  It wasn’t hard to find a good spot away from the road for a fire, given how well Luke knew this road.  He gathered some wood and kindling, pulled some matches from his coat, and sat back against a log to stare into the growing incandescence and consume his last sandwich.   The fingers of the fire were both beautiful and destructively powerful at the same time.  It was impossible for him to see one side of it without simultaneously seeing the other. 

The cold air didn’t bother him, especially wrapped in his long, heavy coat.  Living on the land, often literally touching it or at least standing upon it, was his norm.  After a lengthy, peaceful spell his thoughts turned to the men who may have sat in this very place long before him, doing the same as he, pretty certain they would be Natives.  He dozed off with images in his head of Indian men sitting at this place, with a warm fire, telling stories and finding ways to taunt one another in jest during each narrative.  He imagined that he walked right up to them, sat down- and joined in! 

But soon thereafter he was awakened by a noise nearby, something deliberate.  He sat there listening, pretending not to notice, but nothing ever came of it.  Surely there was someone or something there… but… it… didn’t seem… dangerous…. And he fell back asleep until the sun tried to rise.

Luke found himself sore, as he put in many hard miles the day before, and he may not have been in good shape as he had assumed.   He tried to stretch a few times, until a silly thought entered his head!  He threw off his coat, grabbed the lowest limb of a nearby tree, and started climbing! He rose as far as he could, nestled himself in the elbow of a large bough, and took in the spectacle of the sun rising over the eastward ridge.  It was… beautiful.  He watched it until the sun had moved far above the horizon and he could feel its warmth.

He made a lot of headway that day as he took a ride for many hours in the passenger seat of a truck that was now empty, having left its load of grain in the big city.  The driver, Frank, a middle-aged man, was quite amiable.  And- he- talked- nonstop! Luke learned that the man had a wife, but she ran off with another who actually traipsed through town one payday night, strutting like a chicken while buck naked, yelling “Ding, dong! Ding, dong!” just to get a free drink, or so Frank was told, had a child that died of tuberculosis, lived above a brothel but supposedly never partook, smoked like a fiend when they were someone else’s cigarettes, never drank, except medicinally, had a brother with only one eye, didn’t go to war because he had occasional, uncontrollable ‘amnesia’, and his mother was a horrible cook.  He smelled like he really slept in a pig sty.  Luke contemplated for many miles how the man could eat with such rotted teeth.  But, the man himself was a good egg, so Luke listened and nodded with unchanging regularity.  Just as the night before, Luke easily settled into an obscure spot to again look into the hauntingly beautiful fingers of a fire of his own making.
 
Early the next morn, walking on his own, he didn’t just employ an earnest step, he moved with a rhythm, for he knew for certain he’d reach a favorite old stop by the end of the day.  A good dinner, a warm bed, and a friendly smile would await him at the White Horse Inn.  He planned his dinner with great detail.  It would include a grilled steak, lots of greens, and a homemade sweet!  Of course, Travis, the innkeeper, would enjoy nothing more than to sit at a table all night, filling Luke’s glass, recanting every news story and gossip since Luke shipped off! 

It was already dark when Luke reached the Inn, a large wooden structure suggesting a bohemian style, painted white. On the east side it spread out into multiple rooms and had many fine stables in the rear.  The entire place sat on a knoll in a clearing, with chest-high stone walls and walkways.  Inside was a décor which matched its long, colorful history, a magnificent main room lined with varnished planks of walnut, a high, vaulted ceiling, and an ornately carved bar. 

Luke stopped on the steps before entering and looked over the building’s façade, and back at the dozen or so tied-up horses under saddle, a half dozen carriages and buggies, and a few motorcars.  His trip so far was familiar ground, but this would be the first stop in what he considered his stomping grounds, a place where he was known personally.  This was… the beginnings of home!

It was ages before Luke opened the door and stepped in.  The place looked wonderfully familiar, but the people didn’t.  In fact, he didn’t recognize a single soul.  There were families enjoying dinner, and a number of people at tables or the bar just nursing a drink, conversing. At one table sat three loud men, carousing, and shouting more than talking, as if they were the only ones there.  Luke saw people recoiling at the foul language of the three.

He walked up to the bartender and asked if Travis was nearby.  “Who wants to know?” said the barkeep out of the side of his mouth, cigarette about to burn his lips.   

“Luke.  Hamilton,” he replied, leaning against the bar.

“Just a minute…” said the Keep, and he walked to the door of the storeroom.

“Luke!” exclaimed a tall, muscular man with a soft belly and the remains of a washed-out southern drawl.  “Oh, my Lord, so good to see you!  Luke!  Oh my, how long were you away?  You seem to be in one piece.  How’ve you been?”  Luke gasped as he tried to get in a word or two.  “Where did they send you?  Action?  Yes, lots of action, no doubt.  Home for good?  Yes,

Offline susan-louise

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Re: first five pages of Blood Red Arrow, by Sullivan
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2022, 09:33:23 AM »
BLOOD RED ARROW
A Novel by DJ Sullivan
Chapter 1 LEAVING THE WAR BEHIND, 1918

 I like your voice and the world building and we do have a sense of soldier returning home from the Great War which brings  poignancy to the opening.  However,  for me, in its current form, these pages don't yet engage me as a reader.
I wondered about your opening. It has a nostalgic tone but didn't seem connected to the second paragraph.  Perhaps because you move from first person to Luke without a transition.I also thought another transition was missing from when he was on, and after he left, the train. Wandering around or through the city, I was lost.  I made a few suggestions to tighten the syntax, and to reduce over writing. Best of luck with this.


What has happened feels as though it makes sense. That said, putting it all in order and words is extremely challenging. I think… this is the best place to begin the tell of our oddly intertwined stories, despite the fact we’d be more comfortable if the magnifying glass was were ("were" for conditional tense) pointed elsewhere. And truth be known, a prism may actually give a better read of them….  The opening really has to grab, but this one doesn't yet. maybe sharpening the focus will do the trick. But in starting with an omniscient narrator you risk losie the reader before he/she has moved into what I am sure is a great novel.

Luke perceived his gallant horse, his esteemed brother with four legs (or his "esteemed four-legged brother" is better for syntax), amongst others on a high ridge during a violent thunder  storm. The rain was so drenching he couldn’t see the barn from the house although he could throw a rock from the porch and hit it. He knew better than to venture out in this mess, but as was his way he didn’t heed this familiar voice. (the voice of whom?  I am confused...unless you mean he always defied common sense) Lightening struck near him numerous times as he made his way toward them, some strikes so close his body tingled. I'd vary the verbs here. Can you use "some forks" rather then strikes??

Ironically, the strikes they gave him a temporary light  (you could be more concise : try "briefly illuminated his farm") to view his farm, the horses tightly spaced against the rain. (tightly spaced seems an odd description. Are they huddled together perhaps??) As he neared the ridge he still couldn’t see them without the help of a flash. Suddenly, violently, the worst occurred. (Avoid too many adverbs in your opening pages....they really jar flow.  Just move straight into the action.  An intense bolt hit the gathering and within an instant he saw them move in odd ways, some possibly collapsing, others listing.  The light of the next strike showed him what he feared so fervidly (I think you might mean fervently?). They were all on the ground, not a movement between them. Luke’s heart exploded within his chest (this is melodramatic and a hackneyed phrase. Can you not show the urgency he feels? Of course, having read this twice, I see this is a dream...but still, stronger writing will bring your reader with you.) He must get to Connor, but… he… couldn’t… get off the ground, and melted into the Earth.

Ah...so this was a dream...ok. It is a little confusing for the reader. I think you might also need a transition to suggest they are on a train?

A fellow soldier from across the aisle grabbed Luke’s shoulder and shook him. “Bloke,” he said lightly, “you were dreaming, yelling out loud and thrashin’ about. Sounded like the devil was inside you, hand-to-hand combat, fighting for your soul. You ok?”

new lone Luke hesitated, then nodded affirmatively, implying his thanks.  I think it's obvious that nodding is an affirmative action...and he is giving his silent thanks.  Less is more.  Try not to over write.

Luke’s revery  started by trying to recall a cherished memory of his wife, playful as ever in the rain. I’d like to tell you he could smell her hair as soon as he closed his eyes, but he was dolefully bothered, even maddened, by the fact because he could not.  Then the incident with the horses started growing in his mind and took over. (again, I'd be tightening this.  Then the incident with the horses flooded into/ filled/ his mind.)

While the comfort of dry, clean clothes, a full belly, and the train's endless rhythms of the train tried to ease Luke into repose, the pungent smells of burnt or rotting flesh, and the incessant, maniacal shriek of incoming shells were ever foremost on his mind.  And sulfur. A woman had walked through the rail cars the day before, giving a flower and a kiss of gratitude to every GI, but even the simple flower smelled like sulfur to him. (word repetition.  Try Even the flower's scent reminded him of sulfur....)

He wrote Molly a letter explaining his return plans and schedule. It contained an admonition, or perhaps a confession, that he felt vile and dirty, like he was bringing some of the war home with him, so he explained that, as his custom, when he reached Albany he would hike home for a few days. As much as he missed her, he wanted time alone upon the land, amidst the trees and hills, pensive and penitent, to see if he could find anything (anyone?) resembling the old Luke. He must find the old Luke.


So...this is a reflection? While he is on the train heading home?  Little confused....Before beginning his hike,  he gave away what little he possessed, save his heavy Army jacket and the contents of its pockets, and set out westward.  A blustery, cold day nipped at him, though winter had barely begun.  His trek through the city should have been an easy one, but every step seemed avoid words like seemed/felt like as they put a barrier between the reader and text. Why not "every step was..."deliberate, mechanical.  It was hours before he reached the outskirts of the big city, and nightfall was fast approaching, so he stopped at a bed and breakfast even though a sign read ‘sorry- full house’.  No beds were available, but he accepted a sofa, unsure why he’d lost the wind in his sails. He ate a leftover sandwich, nursed a warm beer, and curled up to a short, sporadic sleep. (choose one adjective...this reads like a list)

Generally Gregarious and light-hearted, Luke became withdrawn during the war, estranged from his fellow pawns. As the months at war grew long, his love of family and home turned from a life jacket into a heavy weight.  He became driven to defeat the enemy and ached to end the inhumane hostilities posthasteIt seemed as if normalcy and civility were going to slip away forever.

Despite his reticence, and his growing estrangement (from whom? himself?), his swelling mania to inflict massive hurt upon the enemy was contagious, as the men around him recognized and drew from Luke’s example person and conviction.  A master of horses, Luke could have easily drawn an assignment somewhere along the supply line, delivering and staging the war horses rather than manning the trenches, but it was his own decision to fight with rifle in hand.  His Brigade became a tornado where there had previously been an occasional gale.  They took it upon themselves to personally hasten the end of the war.

Has he in fact now left the train?  Little confused. Before the sun came up, he woke to the smells (telling...let us almost taste these things...and word repetition, too, from above. He woke to the delicious aroma of brewing coffee and  of fresh coffee and biscuits, and the sizzle of bacon.  He was caught off-guard, somehow surprised, as if someone let him in on a family secret. Breakfast, any breakfast, was a gift, but one made at home, straight from the handiwork of one person, for the enjoyment of another, was nothing less than a Godsend! (overwriting here, hence the strike) A smile emerged within him. (How does a smile emerge within one?  Perhaps more simple and effective to say. "He smiled" The pleasant old woman of the house would not hear of payment from a veteran of that great war and sent him on his way with pockets stuffed of with  sandwiches and beer.

Luke made better time than the day before.  He knew this road through the countryside and took pleasure in the familiarity.  He was headed in the direction of Ithaca, at the base of the Finger Lakes.  Formed by glaciers, if viewed from the Heavens, the Lakes must have appeared as south to north scratch marks upon the Earth, perhaps made by the fingers of God. And the sunshine helped, for its beauty after the gloom of the last few days couldn’t be denied.  Thoughts of family danced in his head a few times, surprising him, as his habitual? routine anymore wrong word was to look at these moments as nothing more than a photograph, viewed from a distance. PERIOD: because the sentence was long. But  today he actually watched a few play out! (I'd ditch the exclamation point)

His brisk pace improved his mood as well, for it required him to breath hard, and concentrate on each footstep, leaving little room in his head for the questions that ever haunted him.  Then Try  "By" midday his thoughts turned to his brother-in-law Jonathon, the best friend Luke had ever known. Luke knew from Molly’s letters that Jon was home from Europe already, badly injured by the direct hit of a shell upon his wretched trench position.  Jon managed to dive around a bend to save his life but lost his entire right foot in an instant.  What a tragedy!  Still, the severity of Jon’s injury hadn’t soaked in completely, for Luke had become numb to slaughter, expecting the fighting men to be literally, immediately torn to pieces. It was going to happen to every one of them.

Luke shared many a trek such as this one with Jon in days past, though most of the time on horseback.  It was doubtful they would ever do it again, even though Jon would find a way if anyone could Again, delete the exclamation point it jars.  There are two contradictory clauses in this bit...doubtful John can ever do it again, but he would find a way. So to make things tighter, remove one of them Jon was one of those people who made everything work out, in a way that highlighted the good that could be found hidden within any problem, no matter how obscure.  And joke!  Jon’s sense of humor was uncanny.  Surely, he could see inside people’s minds as he entertained them.  Luke was especially thankful for Jon’s character as a husband to Annie, and to their daughter Hannah.  Simply put, he loved the man dearly.  (Lot of characters introduced in this page.  Can you hold off on naming them all? Introduce gradually, perhaps Molly and Hannah appear in next pages and this stream of consciousness also acts as a barrier. I am still trying to engage with Luke Luke often kidded that Molly was his other half on his right, and Jon was his other half on his left.

A dark and moonless night set in (this is telling...can you show us how dark it is..with richer language...), so hiking any farther was pointless, unless he purposely wanted to sprain an ankle.  It wasn’t hard to find a good spot away from the road for a fire, given how well Luke knew this road.  He gathered some wood and kindling, pulled some matches from his coat, and sat back against a log to stare into the growing incandescence and consume his last sandwich.   The fingers of the fire were both beautiful and destructively powerful at the same time.  It was impossible for him to see one side of it without simultaneously seeing the other.   As a reader, this jarred. It is just a fire. Unless you are foreshadowing a later tragedy with fire.

The cold air didn’t bother him, especially wrapped in his long, heavy coat.  Living on the land, often literally touching it or at least standing upon it, was his norm. (Sorry, but this really threw me. Is it necessary?  We all literally touch the land when we stand....I understand you are trying to tell us he is a man of the land, but it sent my attention wandering)  After a lengthy, peaceful spell his thoughts turned to the men who may have sat in this very place long before him, doing the same as he, pretty certain they would be Natives.  He dozed off with images in his head of Indian men sitting at this place, with a warm fire, telling stories and finding ways to taunt one another in jest during each narrative.  He imagined that he walked right up to them, sat down- and joined in!  (Delete exclam point. I am not sure what the last sentences add to the reader journey here. )

But soon thereafter he was awakened by a noise nearby, something deliberate.  He sat there listening, pretending not to notice, but nothing ever came of it.  Surely there was someone or something there… but… it… didn’t seem… dangerous…. (As a reader, am finding the ellipses really distracting. )And he fell back asleep until the sun tried to rise.  (I think you have to ask yourself...does this drive the first page forward?  For me, as your reader, discovering that he awoke and then fell asleep again sends me into boredom zone. Sorry, this might sound harsh but I am really want you to engage your reader)

Luke found himself (avoid this phrase. Just tell it as it is.  Luke was  sore, or perhaps show us would be even better. You know, he tries to stand but his muscles are cramped. Is he a tall or short man?) as he put in many hard miles the day before, and he may not have been in good shape as he had assumed.   He tried to stretch a few times, until a silly thought entered his head!  Ah so here we haves some showing as I was suggesting above...but cut out the thought entering his head.Go straight to the action. And do remove those exclamation points..they really jar flow and are beginning to annoy me, a very supportive reader! He threw off his coat, grabbed the lowest limb of a nearby tree, and started climbing! He rose as far as he could, nestled himself in the elbow of a large bough, and took in the spectacle of the sun rising over the eastward ridge. It was beautiful. No ellipsis needed  He watched it until the sun had moved far above the horizon and he could feel its warmth.  (Why not show us the sun changing colour as it rises...that would make this kind of scene building much more engaging)

He made a lot of headway that day as he took a ride for many hours in the passenger seat of an empty truck that was now empty, having left its load of grain in the big city.   (Syntax)The driver, Frank, a middle-aged man, was quite amiable.  And- he- talked- nonstop! (Again, this really jarred for me as a reader.  "And he talked non stop" Luke learned that the man had a wife, but she ran off with another who actually traipsed through town one payday night, strutting like a chicken while buck naked, yelling “Ding, dong! Ding, dong!” just to get a free drink, or so Frank was told, had a child that died of tuberculosis, lived above a brothel but supposedly never partook, smoked like a fiend when they were someone else’s cigarettes, never drank, except medicinally, had a brother with only one eye, didn’t go to war because he had occasional, uncontrollable ‘amnesia’, and his mother was a horrible cook. (Stream of consciousness overload.  Can you tighten it?  Pick out the best bits and delete the rest?  Think of the reader navigating this.) He smelled like he really slept in a pig sty.  Luke contemplated for many miles how the man could eat with such rotted teeth.  But, the man himself was a good egg, so Luke listened and nodded with unchanging regularity.  Just as the night before, Luke easily settled into an obscure spot to again look into the hauntingly beautiful fingers of a fire of his own making.   You used beautiful fingers of fire above...try something fresh for variety.
Early the next morn, walking on his own, (this implies he needed support walking!  I think you mean "walking alone?") he didn’t just employ an earnest step, he moved with a rhythm, for he knew for certain he’d reach a favorite old stop by the end of the day.  A good dinner, a warm bed, and a friendly smile would await him at the White Horse Inn.  He planned his dinner with great detail.  It would include a grilled steak, lots of greens, and a homemade sweet! (Exclamation point out!!) Of course, Travis, the innkeeper, would enjoy nothing more than to sit at a table all night, filling Luke’s glass, recanting (recanting means denying, disavowing. Do you mean "recounting"?) ) every news story and gossip since Luke shipped off!

It was already dark when Luke reached the Inn, a large wooden structure suggesting a bohemian style, painted white. On the east side it spread out into multiple rooms and had many fine stables in the rear.  The entire place sat on a knoll in a clearing, with chest-high stone walls and walkways.  Inside was a décor which matched its long, colorful history, a magnificent main room lined with varnished planks of walnut, a high, vaulted ceiling, and an ornately carved bar.

Luke stopped on the steps before entering and looked over the building’s façade, and back at the dozen or so tied-up horses under saddle, a half dozen carriages and buggies, and a few motorcars.  (I'd tighten this for impact as you have veered into a list. CHoose the most poignant things for him to focus on...) His trip so far was familiar ground, but this would be the first stop in what he considered his stomping grounds, a place where he was known personally.  This was… the beginnings of home! (out it comes!!)

It was ages before Luke opened the door and stepped in.  The place looked wonderfully familiar, but the people didn’t.  In fact, he didn’t recognize a single soul.  There were families enjoying dinner, and a number of people (word repetition...try couples? folk? at tables or the bar just nursing a drink, conversing. At one table sat three loud men, carousing, and shouting more than talking, as if they were the only ones there.  Luke saw people recoiling at the foul language of the three.

He walked up to the bartender and asked if Travis was nearby.
new line “Who wants to know?” said the barkeeper out of the side of his mouth, cigarette about to burn his lips.   

“Luke.  Hamilton,” he replied, leaning against the bar.

“Just a minute…” said the Keep, and he walked to the door of the storeroom.

“Luke!” exclaimed a tall, muscular man with a soft belly and the remains of a washed-out southern drawl.  “Oh, my Lord, so good to see you!  Luke!  Oh my, how long were you away?  You seem to be in one piece.  How’ve you been?”  Luke gasped as he tried to get in a word or two.  “Where did they send you?  Action?  Yes, lots of action, no doubt.  Home for good?  Yes,
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 10:47:39 PM by susan-louise »

Offline Sullivan

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Re: first five pages of Blood Red Arrow, by Sullivan
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2022, 01:43:07 AM »
susan-louise, I am very thankful you spent time on my project! Your comments and suggestions are welcome, and sincerely appreciated. Good stuff, gave me a lot to ponder re problems with my writing. You are the first person to offer criticism.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: first five pages of Blood Red Arrow, by Sullivan
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2022, 02:40:05 AM »
Sullivan, glad to have offered a modicum of helpful feedback. There are no problems (your phrase, not mine :) ) with your writing. it simply needs tightening for maximum impact.   Best of luck with the book!