Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Beginning 1048

Sir Lancelot Knights Academy, New Camelot. Final examination for junior level of knighthood. Please, answer the following questions with clear and short sentences. You have two hours to complete the test.

Cedric took a deep breath and looked at the parchment with the academy’s emblem, a golden dragon wielding a sword.

This is it.

His last written exam as a cadet. If everything went fine, he’d be a knight in a few days. Well, not exactly a knight but a junior one, which meant more years of training. Not that he would complain. He looked forward to it.

He dipped the quill into the ink bottle and wrote in big, bold letters:

Name: Cedric William of Locksbay.

He skimmed through the long parchment. It contained sixty-three questions about every subject he’d studied at Sir Lancelot’s in the past five years. A test easy only for those cadets who had spent the last few weeks cramming. Not Cedric. He’d had other things to take care of.

The first question was about weapon-keeping. Good. Not a problem.

1. Weapon-keeping: The sword of a knight is his most precious ally.

Yes, true enough. Except that for now Cedric used one of the standard blades of the academy. Not a proper one. Anyway. Question number one…

A princess is trapped in a gaping cavern, beset by filthy orcettes, demon women, and dragon ladies 45 miles away. You and your horse can travel eighteen miles per hour. How long before you thrust your sword into hot, throbbing flesh? Show your work. 

Opening: BA.....Continuation: khazar-khum


davefragments said...

If this were my opening, I'd cut the three first paragraphs and leave the rest of the opening.
Just begin with "His last written exam..."

Although, you have to get to a problem that interests the reader in the next few paragraphs. I don't know what that is.You hinted that Cedric didn't cram for the test.

Minion #621 said...

13.5 minutes, as a horse traveling 18 mph travels about one miles every 3.33333333 minutes (the eight 3's are very important). 45/3.33333333 is 13.5.

As for serious crit, my main problem is that it seems kinda... boring for a book about knights. That's probably just me, though. I'm used to books starting with a literal explosion.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Reading a true-false test is hopefully not the most interesting thing we'll see the character do, so it would be better to start somewhere more interesting.

Anonymous said...

The sole point of starting with the written exam seems to be to introduce the character. You could do this just as well with something along the lines of:

"Cadet Cedric William of Locksbay," called out the proctor.
Cedric stepped forward to receive his final exam, The Quest, with a prayer in his heart. Please let it be a killing dragon with a hoard. I'll be famous as a knight and have enough gold to pay off the money-lenders.

InkAndPixelClub said...

As with the query, I'm not getting a sense or Cedric or how he's feeling at the moment. He's a knight-in-training. His future as a knight depends on him passing an exam with less than two minutes to answer each question, an exam he hasn't had time to cram for because reasons. His family is depending on him to become a knight so they can use the money that comes with the title to free themselves from crushing debt. It all comes down to Cecil passing a test he hasn't had time to study for (at least for now, because I know from the query that he's also got a practical evaluating not questing coming up).

I'm thinking full blown panic.

You could show Cedric trying to zoom through the questions he knows as fast as possible, in which case I don't think he should take six paragraphs - however short - just to write his name. You could have him struggling to focus, berating himself for whatever kept him from studying, or trying to force himself to remember something from a class he barely recalls. I need something that tells me how Cedric is feeling and shows that this test really matters. Right now, I don't know how much he cares about the outcome.

Watch out for areas that could possibly be confusing. For example, does Cedric write the word "name" in addition to his name or does he just write his name in a space already labelled "name"? Is he done reading question number one at this point? Is he about to write in an answer? If it weren't for the last sentence, I would have though he'd be moving on to question number two.