Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Beginning 232

The Ashana stood outside the small hut. Her mind deep in thought, behind her the moaning grew quiet and finally faded to nothing. There was a moment before the crying of the infant began. His skin not yet dry and he had felt his mother's passing. The Ashana turned, quickly walking back inside.

"Hurry, cover the babe." The Ashana handed some blankets to the young healer.

"What will we do Ashana? The mother's spirit has crossed and the child bears the mark." The healer gathered their materials and tied them into bundles that would fit on their horses.

"Her spirit is gone. We leave the body and take the babe. The Hiromen will be on their way. The Di-Shana watch the skies tonight and will send them for the boy. We can not allow that." The Ashana picked the infant up, rocking him softly. "No longer will I stand by."

The healer stood, she gently pulled a blanket over the body on the hearth. The Ashana waited and then pushed the baby into her arms."You will take the boy to the far lands."

The boy's father stepped forward and looked, pleading, at the two women. "Is there no other way?"

The Ashana sighed. "The laws are written. I am sorry."

Grief-stricken and laden with guilt, the father turned away. He should have known no good would come from switching to a low-cost HMO.

Opening: Rashenbo.....Continuation: ril


Anonymous said...

Figures. When I do a continuation with this same ending (for another, earlier beginning), it doesn't make the grade. But when RIL does it... Uh-huh. Teacher's pet! :o)

Author, my first fantasy novel -- the one tucked way back in the closet somewhere -- started this way, too. Healer and a child bearing "the mark." Just to say that this is SUCH a stock beginning that your query and the rest of the book had better shine twice as much as anyone else's or no one in the biz is gonna read past these first 150 words.

That said, you may want to take a look at some of your phrasing and sentence structure here. Her mind deep in thought, behind her the moaning grew quiet... Huh? First, would another part of her besides her mind be deep in thought? And if you don't clue us as to what she's thinking, do we even need to know she's deep in thought? Plus that phrasing is off. And I'm not sure what the point of her being outside then going back inside is in the first paragraph.

Both characters mention the mother's spirit has crossed/is gone. Is the repetition necessary?

Sentence construction again: The healer stood, she gently pulled a blanket over the body on the hearth. Also, the mother gave birth to her baby on the hearth? Eww. The Ashana and healer seemed like more caring folk than that!

Remember, you'll need to show some originality in plot and characters pretty quickly.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Every pregnant female I see in fiction lately dies in childbirth. It's even more tiresome a plot devise than the dead spouse. It would be more fresh and new if the mom delivered the kid and said, "Whew! What a relief! Now all we need to do is swim through a sea of sharks, battle some odious fiends, and save the world!"

Brenda said...

Reminds me of Willow.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the comma placements are incorrect, although it could be argued that was done for stylistic reasons. The problem for me is, the style is leaving me cold. This scene just seems very passive, vague and slow.

As an example of passiveness, why is the Ashana standing outside the hut at the beginning of the story? It's not like that moment describes anything important or sets the scene. All the action is taking place behind her. There's a woman dying, one who has just given birth, and we readers might be induced to care about that, if we weren't standing outside with the Ashana, doing nothing and seeing nothing.

As an example of vagueness: The healer gathered their materials and tied them into bundles that would fit on their horses.

Um, that doesn't exactly get me picturing the scene, y'know? Why don't you do some research on what materials a midwife in a rustic environment needs and make this scene realistic?

As an example of slowness, there's no point to the first and second paragraphs; they contribute nothing to the story.

The fourth paragraph is an "As you know, Bob" conversation. Surely the healer already knows most of that information, or she wouldn't have been worried enough to ask the Ashana what they should do.

Basically, there's no tension to the scene, because not even the characters themselves seem particularly worried. I think you really need to work on connecting to the reader by making the scene vivid, tightly focused, and by not shying away from describing pertinent details like what a dying woman looks like or what materials a midwife brings to a birth.

Bernita said...

The linkage of a baby crying because "he had felt his mother's passing" does not work for me. Just to romantically remote from reality.

"the dead spouse," Anon?
Even if he shows up as a zombie?

GutterBall said...

One good zombie shark would pull this opening's chestnuts right out of the fire, author. Don't be dismayed.

You have a few interesting turns of phrase, but, they're unfortunately distracting because the reader has to work out the grammar. Er, well...I do.

I have no particular problem with the Ashana standing outside, so long as you explain why at some point. Was she giving the mother and the healer privacy? Was she looking for guidance in the stars? These are plausible things, but without them, I just wonder why she's hovering outside while all the drama is inside.

However, I really don't mind the baby sensing his mother's passing. I think that's a sign that the child is special. This is obviously a fantasy, so a baby with a mark must be special.

Jazz up the opening, maybe. Add some blood? Have the Hiromen already on the way, their approaching hoofbeats mocking the mother's failing heartbeat? I dunno, but I'm sure you do.

There's nothing wrong with starting with a marked child and a dead mother, so long as you do it with panache. Remember, there are only 8 "original" ideas in the world. The rest are just clever spin-offs. Do your spin-off with style, and no one will ever notice.

Good luck!

Rashenbo said...

You guys are so good at this! I wonder if I should submit my serious work for review :)

Unfortunately, this one is only about three pages long. I was goofing off and started a fantasty story.... Just me putting some words on paper. Another craptastic junker :)

What can I say, the bucket was getting low on entries so I sent in a bunch of my old "collecting dust" beginnings :D

You guys rock, though. I'm a little afraid of what you might do if I did send in my real work in progress.

Anonymous said...

what are the 8 ideas, cuz I only knows 3?

GutterBall said...

Hell if I know, Anon 11:11. 'S just something I picked up in college - ya know, one of those things they tell you and then don't explain.

Mind you, this was just after I told my entire Shakespeare class that The Lion King was Hamlet in the wild. I think I gave the professor an apoplexy.