Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Beginning 905

Falcon blocked Dionisio’s lunge, and converted the motion into a parry. He jumped back. She lunged. Her footing slipped in the dry sand. She’d wanted to practice closer to the high tide line where the ground didn’t shift so much. Of course, that’s why Dio wanted her to work here. Too far away to lunge, he closed and cut from above. She sidestepped the blow. His momentum carried him forward. She thumped his back with the practice blade. Air exploded out of his lungs,. He staggered forward.

“Time,” Dio wheezed. Strands of his ginger-colored hair had escaped his braid and clung to his cheeks. He brushed them away.

“Sorry.” She winced. She hadn’t meant to swing that hard.

Dio rubbed the weal on his back as he straightened. “Don’t be. Keep this up and I might make you a member of the guard yet.”

She laughed. “I like my current assignment better. You work too hard.”

“I’ll bet you do.”

Slow clapping came from further up the beach. They turned to see Prince Rompf picking his way toward them. A lone member of the guard shadowed him. Dio waved at the man, and he dropped further back.

"Who's that?" Falcon asked.

"Rompf," Dio replied.



"Common courtesy," Falcon said, wiping her brow, "demands, Dio, that you turn your head to the side when hacking up phlegm."

Opening: Nancy D. Greene.....Continuation: Evil Editor


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

"A little more panache and the audience will love it," said Romph. "Let's try it again from the top with both of you in tutus."


Evil Editor said...

P1: Extra comma after "lungs."

I'm not saying there's anything original about doing it, but you could consider removing sentences 5 and 6 and the adjective "practice," thus letting the reader wonder if this is a real fight a bit longer.

P5: Either delete "You work too hard." or put it before the previous sentence so his response follows the right sentence.

none said...

Isn't parry just the correct fencing term for block?

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

1. What's at stake? I tend to skip over battle scenes, but some folks live for 'em, so opening with a battle scene could be cool. Unfortunately this one looks like a bait'n'switch... they're just practicing. Better to open where the @#@$ hits the fan.

2. Falcon blocked Dionisio’s lunge, and converted the motion into a parry. He jumped back. She lunged.

Since neither name automatically says "he" or "she," I had to reread this to figure out who jumped and who lunged. (And though I hesitate to suggest thesauri to anybody, can you find another word for "lunge"?)

If Prince Rompf's guard drops back when Dio signals, I'm guessing either Dio is the king, or on the next page Dio leads a palace coup.

Dave Fragments said...

I would block out the action more than you have and I would keep action from introspection.

Falcon blocked Dion's lunge and returned with a parry. He backed away but she lunged and slid on the dry sand. He lunge fell short and he closed from above. She sidestepped the blow letting his momentum carry him forward as she thumped his back with the wooden practice sword."

"Time," Dion wheezed. He brushed back the dreadlock that clung to his cheek.

“Sorry.” She winced. She hadn’t meant to swing that hard.

Dio rubbed the welt on his back as he straightened. “Don’t be. You're getting better.”

Slow clapping... etc...

I think that makes this more compact and gets you to Prince Rompf. That's a horrible name BTW. It sounds like a muppet or something out of my anime nightmares of old Sailor Moon shows.

Tamara Marnell said...

I had difficulty picking out who went with which pronoun, too, especially since Falcon is the subject of the first sentence and "he" is the subject of the second. The author may intend the genders to be ambiguous, so we're surprised that Falcon is a woman, but it just made me confused.

From my single month of fencing lessons in college, I remember that the point of a parry is to guide the opponent's sword away from you, and not waste energy blocking at all. And if Dio was a trained swordsman worth his salt, he would be shuffling forward rapidly into a big lunge to close and pull back, not launching himself in such a way that he would ever have his back to Falcon.

But this sounds like a fantasy novel, and fantasy readers probably wouldn't care. We can pretend that it's hundreds of years ago and people haven't figured out how to fight each other without getting themselves killed yet.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Yeah, it looks like high fantasy. And though I don't read the stuff myself, I strongly suspect that those who do read high fantasy will spot the fencing (I'm guessing?) error that caught the attention of Tamara and Buffy.

Your research has to kick ass-- never assume your readers don't know how to rig a schooner, speak Yapese, and make a parka out of dried seal intestines. Because, in my experience, they do.

Above all, never assume that high fantasy readers don't know how to fence.

Unknown said...

This is why I post here. I hadn't realized the pronouns in the first paragraph were confusing or that people would hate Rompf's name so much. The continuation was great. Time for a name change. :)

I tried to put that this was practice fairly close to the start so people wouldn't think it was a bait-and-switch opening.

I meant to use riposte and not parry since she'd just parried/ blocked the lunge. Nice catch all.

Thanks. Back to editing.

Anonymous said...

Not quite working. Can't see how one's foot would slide in sand. Sand is not slippery. Maybe it would sink into the sand, but sliding? Not unless it was a bit of sand scattered on a hard surface acting like ball bearings. Sliding happens in mud with lots of clay in it but a sand beach is all about friction.

There is so much research to do when you decide to depart into historic realms, fantastical or not. It would help to read more about fencing technique. Ideally, specific to the historic period / place you are using as inspiration. Amazingly, fencing and swords weren't always everywhere the same.

Also, you forgot to add sound. It's like your narrator is deaf.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Got confused - she thumped Dio, he wheezed, air explodes from him, he staggers, wipes strands of hair.

She winces.

I'd have her wipe strands and him wince after he staggers.

I'd also rethink she hadn't meant to swing that hard. Kind of takes the momentum out for me. She pounds him then an "Oops! I didn't mean it it." She went from a warrior sort to a girlie girl type and that snuffed some trust.

If this is set in the far future/past/other world does the slow (sarcastic?) clap of this world fit in the world you are writing about?

Dry sand in my experience is loose and soft, wet beach sand is hard to stand/run on.

Needs a bit massaging as mentioned. I'm in for a read.

If Prince Rompf is a comedic sort the name wouldn't bother me. If he's not the name would distract me.