As I stand in the northern meadow, a heartbeat echoes in my ears. Beat by beat, it pounds to the wild rhythm of fear. Superior hearing is just one of my abilities, courtesy of the crystal embedded in my chest. Of all the things I can do, I listen to hearts, like this one, quite frequently. There’s nothing like the sound they make, especially one on the verge of death.
Down at my feet, the Arctic hare squirms, but it's pinned by my steel-tipped javelin, jutting out of its gut. I kneel beside it and extract the spear. Its blood, dark as oil, gushes out and stains the fresh snow. Despite the stench of blood seeping through my nostrils, I smell the scent of berries. The same ones I used to lure the rodent out in the open, right before I hurled my spear at it. Anything that comes that easily is either a trap or it's worthless, a lesson I learned in the Labyrinth.
The Artic hare tries to limp away. It can't move very far. I brush a strand of ebony hair out of my face before taking the rodent in my hands and snapping its neck. And presto! Another merit badge checked off my list.
Opening: Eric Bendas.....Continuation: jcwrites
You listen to hearts most frequently would be better than quite frequently. "Quite" tells me nothing specific about the frequency.
"Arctic" is spelled wrong the second time.
A lot of people will be turned off by this narrator, who's obviously a future serial killer. In fact, I'm not sure I shouldn't report the author to the authorities as a potential serial killer.
Our narrator is a bit too gleeful over killing the hare. If it were presented more as a survival hunting thing, it would work better. As it is EE nailed it--future serial killer.
Oh, and hares etc aren't rodents.
You have a lot of interesting information in here--the Labyrinth, the crystal, the ability to hear heartbeats--but I think you've chosen too quiet a moment to share it. Is there a way to weave this information into a more active scene? As it stands, it feels a bit like the narrator's pausing to tell us this information.
Also, I might change the hare to a mouse (or something like that) since "rodent" doesn't quite fit.
DO IT EE!!!
Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents.
An arctic hare, doubtless above the arctic circle. Well, we all know who lives a few long hops from the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop. That’s right. You’ve killed the Easter Bunny and on Good Friday no less. What kind of evil sadists will want to read about that?
What happen in chapter 2? Santa’s elves’ heads on pikes? Rudolph and Blitzen roasted over a bar-b-que pit? Alive?
Killing a cute bunny is not a good way to start a novel. There is a book by Blake Snyder, “Save the Cat”. You should read it. The only worse way to start a novel might be a graphic gang rape of a nine-year-old.
I liked the detail about the protag's enhanced sensory perceptions- that alone owuld have been enough for me to ignore the other red flags read on.
The red flags being...that hearing another being's heartbeat did not give them a sense of empathy.
Or why (s)he even bothered to spear the hare if it was useless.
Or even...why (s)he bothered to use the scent of berries to lure anything...if anything that comes out so easily is useless or a trap?
Yep, serial killer. Or TSTL.
I took it to mean the berries were (to the hare) either a trap or worthless. Though it's not hard to think of plenty of things that come easy and aren't a trap or worthless. For instance, when I eat out, the food gives me sustenance, I don't have to do any work to prepare it, and I rarely get trapped.
I agree with Mister Furkles. You lose a sizable proportion of your readership with that opening.
Those who remain will probably be violent sickos who like to torture animals, so unless the rest of the novel delivers on that promise, I'd change the opening.
I'd flip through some pages, in hopes that bunnies claim their revenge... Ghost bunnies sound cool.
As others have noted, a hare is not a rodent. Don't call it that.
I think the way to regain audience sympathy, with an opening like this, is by explaining why the MC needs to kill the hare. Her family is starving. They haven't eaten in a month. OR hares turn into sadistic killing machines at dusk. No one is safe. OR... you need a good reason.
Usually I'm irritated by narrators who talk about "my ebony hair," "my long legs" etc. I never think, for example, "I walked to work, squinting my green eyes." Self-descriptions are so artificial, they take me right out of the story. In this case I don't mind it so much, because it introduces a touch of vanity/ femininity that juxtaposes nicely with the brutality of the rest of the passage.
Thanks everybody for all your feedback. I see that I missed the mark with my narrator's voice. I tried to make her sound cold hearted and ruthless. Needless to say, I've created a monster by not giving her empathy and by making her enjoy killing the rabbit too much, which I now know is not a rodent. I think the last two sentences in the first paragraph are the worst in this regard, so I rewrote them to make it clear why she likes listening to heartbeats...
So, I listen, beat by beat, as the heart pounds to the wild rhythm of fear. People lie. Words deceive. A heartbeat is different, especially one on the verge of death.
I'm gonna have some more counseling sessions with my character, so she doesn't turn into a psycho killer. Thanks again everybody.
She can be cold-hearted and ruthless while still being interesting enough to follow. Hannibal Lechter isn't the nicest guy, yet he's the protagonist of several books and movies.
Mm, apples and oranges, k-k. If this scene had opened with the protag killing a human, there would be a lot less squick factor.
True Alaska, but if the victim were human, readers would assume the introductory character is an evil serial killer. But somehow, it seems unlike a thriller is about a bunny serial killer. Well, until bunnies learn to read, anyway.
I feel compelled to point out that hares aren't technically bunnies.
I assumed she was an evil serial killer anyway.
Okay, let’s be technical. The English word bunny is derived as a diminutive for the 16th century Scottish word bun. Originally a bun was the tail of a hare. Within a few decades it referred to a squirrel. Shortly afterward it came to refer to both rabbits and hares but was no longer used to refer to squirrels.
It is not really a scientific term and hence means whatever use people put it to. As in Playboy Bunnies, who are scantily clad waitresses in men’s clubs.
Scientifically, both rabbits and hares are leporidae and the term bunny, as an enduring diminutive, may refer to ether. What we do know is that the Easter Bunny is certainly a bunny. But at this time nobody has been able to determine definitively whether the Easter Bunny is a hare or a rabbit.
As for the character being a serial killer, it may be long time before there is an episode of “Criminal Minds” about a serial bunny killer. So, it doesn’t seem a sound basis for a thriller.
Nobody has been able to determine definitively whether the Easter Bunny is a hare or a rabbit.
No, but it was determined more than fifty years ago that Bugs Bunny is a wabbit.
In fact, a wascally wabbit. And stalked by the serial-wabbit-killer want-to-be, Elmer Fudd. Perhaps there is hope for paranormal medieval super-villain novel.
Mr. Furkles, I second that.
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