Georgian Fantasy Opening Chapter -- 1400 words

  1. The Big Peat

    The Big Peat Darth Buddha

    Apr 9, 2016
    I really liked the opening part. I thought it was very evocative, read beautifully, and captured a lot about the character. I like the conceit of the character walking through a crowd whispering through her, reacting in silence. Having some of the criticisms I suppose I see some of them, but I didn't really find it unrealistic reading it the first time. To me, it seemed obvious that social proprieties allowing the whisperers to feel safe are at play. I like that it is up front about clashes of race and gender playing a part.

    There's a couple too many repetitions for me - a lot of fire imagery, slivers of pine used twice.

    I also think the conversations could be compressed while still retaining the same overall effect i.e. the bit where someone says they hear stories, someone goes "Stories?" and the first person goes on doesn't really need the middle bit.

    And I also would have liked to hear more about her feelings re being a Vestal.

    But other than that, that really hit my sweet spot.

    The change of voice and PoV didn't throw me but I did find the repetition of events a little uninteresting. I like the concept of seeing events from multiple points of view but for whatever reason - too early in the plot, too right next to each other, not enough difference, not enough information about the first narrator - it didn't work.
    Jan 11, 2018 at 11:51 PM
    The Judge and Paul Meccano like this.
  2. Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

    Feb 13, 2011
    In your bedroom wardrobe...
    Yes, I liked it, and I think I'd've understood it even without your preface.

    Although I'm not usually one for the fragmented present-tense style of your opening paragraph, I think it works well and serves as a deep POV inasmuch as a fragmented thought-reaction to what is going on for RoseOak. (And I rather like the name RoseOak, actually, and would just take off the capitalisation of the O, or perhaps, add a consonant between them, e.g. Rosenoak.)

    The repetition is not really repetition as far as I'm concerned; it didn't bother me but I wonder if you could play with it more in the sense of using the Rashomon Effect. Thing is, that would probably mean changing the character for the sake of it, so it's probably be a no-no but it's just a thought. I was reminded of an other-worldy Les Liaisions Dangereuse meets Jane Austen.

    I rather agree that maybe the amount of species of trees that are referred to could be shortened; the Nature geek in me likes the thought of all those different trees having different powers as I'm used to Tables of Correspondences in magic, but for a story it might be a bit unnecessary. Having said that the way she looks at them is a nice counterpoint to the standing gossips. In my mind I had an image of factions which would be lost if you reduced the number of woods.

    I'd remove the 'I've heard' simply because it reads like something the gossip wouldn't know, which of course they would, and besides, it would be snarkier without.

    As for the second pov, I have no real comments except to say that I think you could err more on the side of your dark humour skills. This piece could be transformed if it was made funnier in that regard. Not that I'm suggesting you make it into a comedy, but;

    could be tweaked into one of your great punchlines that frequent your 75 and 300 word challenge entries.

    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:30 PM
    The Judge likes this.
  3. The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    nearly the New Forest
    Thanks, both. Very helpful comments there. Not sure about how to get more humour into Artemisia's bit, but I'll have a think on it. Ta.
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:00 PM
  4. Montero

    Montero Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2008
    Tiny comment - Rosenoak - sounds an awful like Roanoke to me, which could cause confusion.
    List of trees - it didn't jar me in any way - but I am a tree lover and can visually identify a lot of UK trees by shape, bark, leaf positioning and leaf colour - so summer or winter recognition.....:)
    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:14 AM
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