Another 'Eightfold Covert' Snippet

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Tecdavid

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Hi, everyone. I have another snippet of my work here, and although it too bares a bit of area-discription, it focusses a little more on dialogue and goings-on than the previous two. It's a slightly reworked version of a snippet I posted on my blog, which also contains the first two full chapters and the blurb, if anyone's interested. :)

Pull up a seat at the Felvane

A narrow corridor from the entryway – its walls covered in old paintings of the city – led into a spacious, dimly lit bar with a decor that proved the place was cherished and cared for. Its ambience was easing, and friendly.
A large, ornate fireplace, crowned with many gilded goblets and plates crackled away by the eastern wall, while many vulshieral children chatted quietly beside it. Many old banners, landscapes and bar-befitting knickknacks – such as collective beakers – engulfed the mahogany-brown walls. And yet, welcoming though the atmosphere was, Erril hoped he’d avoid attention.

One thing, however, drew more attention than anything else: The far end of the room held a stage, upon which a few vulshiera were playing away on instruments, the likes of which Erril had never seen before. The musicians must have been merely practicing. There were certainly no signs of effort on their faces. Still, the melody was a pleasant one, simple, calming, with but a little hint of eeriness to it.

‘Can I help you, sir?’ Called the barman. Erril was caught up in the relaxing tune. ‘What can I get you?’

Erril walked over. ‘Yeah, I’m sort of new around here, just arrived in Verdentia yesterday. I was told this would be a good place to learn a few of the city’s . . . y’know, customs and such.’ The barman smiled. For someone working in such a quaint and charming place, he seemed to have more of a lively buzz about him, the kind of person who’d, in fact, consider customs a nuisance at most.

‘Ah, but I should’ve known. I’ve grown accustomed to many a face around here, my friend, and I must admit, yours didn’t ring any bells.’ While talking, he began pouring a large, peculiarly red drink. A sort of cocktail, by the look of it.

‘One custom we do have around here, sir, is that the first drink’s on the house.’ He passed Erril the colourful mix, which he took with a grateful smile.

He thanked him before taking a swig. On a day like today, something strong would go down well. But perhaps not as strong as that . . . by the time he’d hurried it down, Erril was fighting to stop tears swelling in his eyes! B-Bitter! He tried not to show any disgust, but the barman could tell all too easily, going by his hearty laugh.

‘Bit strong, eh?’ He asked. Erril nodded wearily before handing the glass back. The bartender just shrugged happily. ‘I just like experimenting around a bit. ‘Thought that’d be a good way to test whether it was any good or not.’ Erril didn’t quite see the humour. He hadn’t walked in here with the intention of being some unwitting guinea pig!

‘Let’s see, one part Dusk Juniper . . .’ The barman was examining his mixture. Erril scrubbed his tongue, wishing something could empty his stomach. ‘And two parts Gellish Blood.’ That almost did it.

 
Hi, everyone. I have another snippet of my work here, and although it too bares a bit of area-discription, it focusses a little more on dialogue and goings-on than the previous two. It's a slightly reworked version of a snippet I posted on my blog, which also contains the first two full chapters and the blurb, if anyone's interested. :)

Pull up a seat at the Felvane


A narrow corridor from the entryway – its walls covered in old paintings of the city – led into a spacious, dimly lit bar with a decor that proved the place was cherished and cared for. Its ambience was easing, and friendly.not sure what you mean by easing, do you mean it made you feel at ease or is it that it's fading away. I think the former but not sure.
A large, ornate fireplace, crowned with many gilded goblets and platescomma otherwise it sounds as if the crockery's crackling crackled away by the eastern wall, while many vulshieral children chatted quietly beside it. Many old banners, landscapes and bar-befitting knickknacks – such as collective beakers i don't think you need this– engulfed the mahogany-brown walls. And yet, welcoming though the atmosphere was, Erril hoped he’d avoid attention.okay, the scene's set nicely. I think the last sentence is slightly clumsy; why would he have drawn attention?

One thing, however, drew more attention than anything else: The far end of the room held a stage, upon which a few vulshiera were playing away on instruments, the likes of which Erril had never seen before. The musicians must have been merely practicing. why? There were certainly no signs of effort on their faces. Still, the melody was a pleasant one, simple, calming, with but a little hint of eeriness to it.

‘Can I help you, sir?’ called the barman. Erril was caught up in the relaxing tune.I think probably a seperate paragraph. ‘What can I get you?’

Erril walked over. ‘Yeah, I’m sort of new around here, just arrived in Verdentia yesterday. I was told this would be a good place to learn a few of the city’s . . . y’know, customs and such.’ The barman smiled. For someone working in such a quaint and charming place, he seemed to have more of a lively buzz about him, the kind of person who’d, in fact, consider customs a nuisance at most.

‘Ah, but I should’ve known. I’ve grown accustomed to many a face around here, my friend, and I must admit, yours didn’t ring any bells.’ While talking, he began pouring a large, peculiarly red drink. A sort of cocktail, by the look of it.again, I think the last 2 sentences are prob. a seperate paragraph,to break up the dialogue and action. I have a short excerpt where Peter Graham gave useful feedback on this; it was a couple of weeks ago, if you want to have a look. The one in the bar.

‘One custom we do have around here, sir, is that the first drink’s on the house.’ He passed Erril the colourful mix, which he took with a grateful smile.Doesn't sound like great business; would someone new and cautious go for this? or be suspicious.

He thanked him before taking a swig. On a day like today, something strong would go down well. But perhaps not as strong as that . . . by the time he’d hurried it down, Erril was fighting to stop tears swelling in his eyes! B-Bitter! He tried not to show any disgust, but the barman could tell all too easily, going by his hearty laugh.

‘Bit strong, eh?’ He asked. Erril nodded wearily before handing the glass back. The bartender just shrugged happily. ‘I just like experimenting around a bit. ‘Thought that’d be a good way to test whether it was any good or not.’ Erril didn’t quite see the humour. He hadn’t walked in here with the intention of being some unwitting guinea pig!

‘Let’s see, one part Dusk Juniper . . .’ The barman was examining his mixture. Erril scrubbed his tongue, wishing something could empty his stomach. ‘And two parts Gellish Blood.’ That almost did it.liked the last line.


Hi David, I liked this, good scene setting and smooth dialogue. I did think in some places the dialogue and description overlapped in one paragraph, but I've commented on this above.
 
OK -- so like last time, it's well-written and entertaining. The start was a bit description-heavy for me but that's me.

Pull up a seat at the Felvane


A narrow corridor from the entryway – its walls covered in old paintings of the city – led into a spacious, dimly lit bar with a decor that proved the place was cherished and cared for. [I didn't like 'proved', but that's a bit pedantic of me. I'd have liked 'suggested' or something instead -- 'proved' just makes all the lights in my head start flashing (there's a siren too)] Its ambience was easing, and friendly.
A large, ornate fireplace, crowned with many gilded goblets and plates [comma] crackled away by the eastern wall, while many vulshieral children chatted quietly beside it. Many old banners, landscapes and bar-befitting knickknacks – such as collective beakers – engulfed the mahogany-brown walls. [there are rather a lot of 'many's] And yet, welcoming though the atmosphere was, Erril hoped he’d avoid attention.

One thing, however, drew more attention than anything else: [small t if you're in the UK I think] The far end of the room held a stage, upon which a few vulshiera were playing away on instruments, the likes of which Erril had never seen before. The musicians must have been merely practicing. [I don't really like this statement much, but I find it hard to tell you why] There were certainly no signs of effort on their faces. Still, the melody was a pleasant one, simple, calming, with but a little hint of eeriness to it.

‘Can I help you, sir?’ [small c] Called the barman. Erril was caught up in the relaxing tune. [new para -- otherwise the implication is that it's Erril who's talking] ‘What can I get you?’

Erril walked over. ‘Yeah, I’m sort of new around here, just arrived in Verdentia yesterday. I was told this would be a good place to learn a few of the city’s . . . y’know, customs and such.’ The barman smiled. For someone working in such a quaint and charming place, he seemed to have more of a lively buzz about him, the kind of person who’d, in fact, consider customs a nuisance at most. [I got curious here about how one person has a buzz and how it showed -- what is it about him that gives Erril this impression?]

‘Ah, but I should’ve known. I’ve grown accustomed to many a face around here, my friend, and I must admit, yours didn’t ring any bells.’ While talking, [you know, I think you could lose 'while talking'and it wouldn't do the sentence any harm] he began pouring a large, peculiarly red drink. A sort of cocktail, by the look of it. [I really like the idea of something being 'peculiarly red' -- love it]

‘One custom we do have around here, sir, is that the first drink’s on the house.’ He passed Erril the colourful mix [ok -- for me 'colourful mix' implies lots of different colours, which isn't -- I think -- what you mean], which he took with a grateful smile.[uhr. I have a 'he' problem here. I don't know if: 'The barman passed Erril the colourful mix; he took it with a grateful smile.' would sort it or if you'd need to do something more dramatic ('He pushed the colourful mix across the bar; Erril took it with a grateful smile.' ?)]

He thanked him [the barman] before taking a swig. On a day like today, something strong would go down well. [I'd like something a little more in here - maybe something like -- 'He took a deep swallow...'?] But perhaps not as strong as that . . . by the time he’d hurried it down, Erril was fighting to stop tears swelling in his eyes! B-Bitter! He tried not to show any disgust, but the barman could tell all too easily, going by his hearty laugh. [I had a little difficulty reconciling 'strong', which I understood to mean heavily alcoholic, and 'bitter']

‘Bit strong, eh?’ [small h] He asked. Erril nodded wearily before handing the glass back. The bartender just shrugged happily. ‘I just like experimenting around a bit. ‘Thought that’d be a good way to test whether it was any good or not.’ Erril didn’t quite see the humour. He hadn’t walked in here with the intention of being some unwitting guinea pig!

‘Let’s see, one part Dusk Juniper . . .’ The barman was examining his mixture. Erril scrubbed his tongue, wishing something could empty his stomach. ‘And two parts Gellish Blood.’ That almost did it. [loved the end!]

 
Thanks for the feedback so far, guys. :)

Springs, I think some of the paragraphs jumped around a little as I was adjusting the format, as this board's format works differently than my word processor's. My bad - sorry about that. To answer your question about the barman's offer of a free drink, he only does it because - as I showed later - he wanted to see whether that experimental drink of his was any good. Erril's nervousness isn't due to any distrust of the area; it's down to his low confidence, and highly limited knowledge of the place. That's why he acted cautious, yet wasn't very suspicious over the barman's offer. This is also why he hoped he wouldn't draw anyone's attention as he made his entrance. Again, I apologise; this particular extract didn't make this clear.

I think I see what you mean about a few sentences needing a few tweaks here and there, Hex. I do think some of your suggestions read better.
 
Yes, okay about the drink; but you didn't tell us that before Erril accepted it. You've painted the picture of a stranger to the area, someone trying not to draw attention and then he's done something which puts him in danger without knowing why. If there's a reason which makes the drink offering acceptable we should know what it is. If not, it reads as if it was a fun thing to do/ a space filler rather than a genuine plot element.

I know I sound pernickety, but it did jump out to me as something which jarred.
 
I didn't really want to explain it before it happened, as it was meant to be a slightly more comedic scene, and that would ruin the joke. But maybe you're right. Perhaps, when reading through the whole story, it might not seem as odd (I haven't been told this was an issue by those who've read a whole draft), and if so, I have to apologise again; I might not be picking out the best extracts here. :eek:
Still, if it really stuck out at you, I'll pay extra attention to this part if I write a new draft of the book (Which I most likely will), and see if I can spruce it up.
 
I have a quick note: there are some words I think you can cut from the excerpt that might make the prose tighter. For example: "the kind of person who’d, in fact, consider customs a nuisance at most", "The bartender just shrugged happily. ‘I just like experimenting around a bit."

If you're on the lookout for words/phrases like these you'll be able to spot them and remove them in no time! :)
 
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