Thursday, October 12, 2006

New Beginning 140

The guards shoved Telric into the darkness. One of them added a boot to send him rolling though the stink of rotting straw and sewage. As the cell's iron-braced door slammed shut on laughter, Telric tangled in his chains and banged ungracefully against something. It was softer than he'd expected, but with sharp protrusions: Bones, he realized. A person. A fury of pummeling elbows, fists and feet rained on him then. An elbow landed in his gut and the air whooshed painfully from his lungs As Telric fought to breathe, the stinking figure crouched above him, a silent menace in the gloom. The figure leaned forward, gripped Telric's hair to peer in his face. Even in the dimness Telric saw the snarl on the painfully thin features.

"Watch it," snarled his attacker in Erinasu nearly as bad as his own before flinging Telric back against the ground. Something best left unnamed squished under his cheek.

Telric pushed himself into a corner. He brought his knees up to his chin in a protective pose and rubbed his wrists where the manacles chafed.

“We don’t want any trouble from you,” the bony man said. “That there is Murkdel the murderer. Over there,” he pointed with a twig-like finger, “that’s Sudrip the defiler of nuns. Me -- I’m Bukrab, the orphanage burner.”

Not knowing what to say, Telric just grunted.

“And you?”

Telric cleared his throat. “I’m innocent,” he said.

His words brought forth a gale of laughter.

“No, really. All I said was, Isn’t October a little early to be putting up the holiday lights?

Opening: Writtenwyrdd.....Continuation: ril


Anonymous said...

Coffee duly snorted all over my keyboard. That continuation is wonderful!

Bernita said...

"It was softer than he expected"
How would he "expect" anything, shoved into a dark cell?
Perhaps "into something both soft and sharp?"
A nice dramatic beginning, but bouncing in and out of his head is disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

I think this is very good. You've done a good job of putting me in the scene. I like your style and would read on for sure. I think my ignorance about POV (and other technicalities) spares me the annoyances that bernita and other minions suffer.

I'm glad I'm not the only one annoyed by the retailers rushing from one "holiday" to the next.

braun said...

Henceforth I would like to be known as Sudrip the defiler of nuns.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. The ending was a little anticlimatic for me. Maybe I'm getting too used to vampires, zombies, pedophiles and transvestites.

I like the voice of the beginning author. POV puritanism is over-rated, IMO. And I think the author did stay true to POV.

Virginia Miss said...

Dramatic opening, unburdened by backstory. I'd read more. My favorite sentence: Something best left unnamed squished under his cheek.

A few nits: delete the adverb "ungracefully" (if he's tangling and banging we get that). You use the word "painfully" twice in the same paragraph, delete the first one. Reword "softer than expected."

Anonymous said...

I'm a dummy but I don't get the continuation. I agree about starting Christmas too early but was there something in the opening that made that relevant? EE must have seen something, I know he's very selective about the continuations he uses.

writtenwyrdd said...

Hey, thanks for these and any future comments. That 'sharp/soft' bit was problemmatic for me, and I knew I'd hear about it. Your thoughts are very helpful.

Anonymous said...

POV is fine. You write well. I'd like to know more about Telric, but I feel confident that you will tell me in the next few paragraphs. You achieve the most important thing, which is making me feel that I am in capable authorial hands.

GutterBall said...

What about Mekato, the stealer of candy from children? Did he have the day off?

Anonymous said...

Be honest, WW, you're using word verifications to name your characters aren't you?

-Naxuv the gerbil flinger

writtenwyrdd said...

gerbil finger, I only named Telric, the rest are all ril's invention. I might "borrow" them, though....heh.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, Bukrab was mine. The original continuation had Bakrub, which is much funnier, but I felt it would distract readers from the extreme tension of the scene. Can't have people thinking this is a comedy.

Anonymous said...

Actually the tension was broken when that unknown substance "squished" under Telric's cheek. I don't care who you are, that was funny...OK, maybe not if you're Telric, but still.

Kidding aside, I liked both the beginning and the continuation. I would like to know what time period you're writing about within the next few paragraphs.

-hqkgtjgq the gum-popper

Anonymous said...

I don't get the continuation. I agree about starting Christmas too early but was there something in the opening that made that relevant?

I believe it's a riff on the fact that the main character doesn't speak the language well. He misheard what the other fellow was saying.


I was left kinda cold by the beginning. It felt like a gratuitous attention-grabber. I don't know this character well enough to care about his misfortune.

The fact that I'm having this reaction bothers me a little, because I'm all in favour of starting the book off with a bang, and yet this *BANG!* opening isn't doing it for me.

I think the problem is that while something is happening in the story, it isn't exactly a conflict. The main character has a problem, but what can he do to solve it? Things look hopeless for him right now, and that means I'm just passively waiting around for some juicy possibilities to open up.

I think you could get me more engaged if I had some insight into what was going on in the character's head - something I can empathise with. Does he feel desperate? Terrified? Enraged? Is his brain already working feverishly on the problem of getting out?

We don't even know if the blows hurt. The only place where you mention what the main character feels is the rather tepid description: the air whooshed painfully from his lungs (and you're missing the period at the end of that sentence, by the way.)

I need to either empathise with the main character or be intrigued by the story's potential for incipient conflict, in order to become engaged by the story. Currently, the opening isn't giving me that. Sorry.

Kate Thornton said...

Lol! Loved the story - and the continuation is hilarious! Good work, both of you!

acd said...

ril! Are you trying for the Kate Thornton Continuatrix title? Because that's a cage match I'd want to watch.

Nice work!

Nancy Beck said...

The first paragraph was very good, with a lot of tension and action. I felt for Telric when he got punched in the gut. Poor guy.

I had a slight problem with the 2nd paragraph. I think "snarled his attacker in Erinasu nearly as bad as his own before flinging Telric back against the ground" is a bit too long. Maybe you could put a period after "own" and then "He flung Telric back against the ground" could be a separate sentence?

"Something best left unnamed squished under his cheek." I actually liked this - sounded gross to me (and Telric is in an horrific place to begin with).

Good luck with it, wyrrd!


Anonymous said...

whitemouse, I agree with you on principle, but there's something in the tone of this beginning (maybe it's the squishing in the last sentence...) that suggests it's not only adventure but also humor. And that lessens my need to feel the character's pain. I could be wrong here, but I get the sens that I will know and like Telric soon, and that I will be entertained.

McKoala said...

Liked the start generally, but got a bit tied up in the physical of who was where and who landed on who, but that's just me. 'silent menace' didn't seem to fit - he'd already been pummeled. But, like I say, it's good to be chucked into a dungeon, sorry, the action.

Ril the Continuer is on fire!

HawkOwl said...

This one is the opposite of "too many words." It packs information everywhere, such as "the cell's iron-braced door slammed shut on laughter." I hope the pace lets up afterwards.

Also there are a lot of echoes. The stink of rotting straw and the stinking figure, for example. And as a noun I prefer "stench." "Elbow" in two consecutive sentences, "figure" likewise, "snarl" likewise. And "snarled" used as a dialog tag, which I never like. And "snarled his attacker in Erinasu nearly as bad as his own," besides being rather gratuitous, seems like way too much information. All the Silent Menace said is "watch it." No matter how badly you speak the language, you can't give a whole lot away just saying "watch it."

As far as the overall effect, I'm with Whitemouse. Until I know who this guy is and why he's in jail, I have no idea whether I care or not. For all I know he might be a drunk driver, in which case, I hope he dies in there. Soon. And painfully.

On the other hand, Mekato, the stealer of candy from children, is definitely going in the NaNoWriMo Idea Pile.

Anonymous said...

That was the first time that the continuation wasn't as good as the opening. It wasn't funny, it didn't mimic the original author's style and the punch line had no origins in the opening. Evil rushed this one rather than showing his usual patience.

Evil Editor said...

Although that doesn't appear to be the majority opinion, let's assume it is. If anyone has a better continuation, I'll be happy to replace the one I used, assuming I agree yours is better.

writtenwyrdd said...

It was snort coffee out my nose funny to me. Not as good as a dead spouse for a lawn ornament, but funny.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was funny, and I got the joke.

Perhaps the joke was a bit...subtle for some?

Anonymous said...

I loved the continuation!!!

Anonymous said...

All the religious extremism in the news these days and people aren't getting the ending?

Ah, well, not every joke is to everyone's taste, and if you have to explain it... never mind.

Anonymous said...

Whitemouse, with all due respect, I think your insult ("too subtle" for dopes who don't get it) was out of line.

Here's what you wrote before:

"I believe it's a riff on the fact that the main character doesn't speak the language well. He misheard what the other fellow was saying."

What in the opening makes you think that? Perhaps the ideas about lack of fluency or poor hearing could be manufactured, but to me, a continuation is well done when it builds on seeds planted in the opening rather than inventing new angles.

Anonymous said...

Nice continuation, ril!
The opening was fun, too. Though I haven't read sword&sorcery for some years, I'd probably read on.