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  1. #1
    Janice wee
    Guest

    What do you think of this new opening

    An editor advised me to rewrite my entire book to improve my writing style. I just redid the opening chapter. What do you think of this opening. Or should I redo it again?
    I want to get it right.
    ----------------------------------------

    Chapter 1
    Like icicles in winter, moonbeams pierced through cracks in the tunnel, lighting the way. Sarah peered straight ahead, not daring to look back. Her heart was racing, her lungs were about to explode, as she sprinted for dear life.
    They're coming...
    Tripping over the remains of a dead prisoner, Sarah stifled a scream. Her rough hands trembled as they broke her fall. The tunnel smelled like a closet – one that hid decomposing bodies of murder victims. Sarah shuddered at the thought of the monstrosities that had eaten the skin and flesh of this prisoner.
    “Ssssaraaahh.. Ssssaraaahh..”
    The hissing voices of her captors filled the air. “There issss no essscape..”

    Shadows of a Ven'eelg and its prisoner danced ahead of her obstructing her way out.

    Joey!

    “Essscaped prissssoner!” hissed the Ven'eelg

    “Go girl!” said the man.

    Her cousin yanked the chain that bound him to the Ven'eelg, driving his knee into its chest. Bending over in pain, the creature hissed furiously.

    Sarah dashed behind the Ven'eelg, right out of the tunnel, and into an immense courtyard.

    “Sssstupid human,” it hissed. The Ven'eelg sank its fangs into Joey's thigh.

    He screamed.
    Glancing back, her cheeks felt like ice.

    Joey's body thrashed uncontrollably against the ground, like one possessed. His skin shriveled up as black venom oozed out of his eyes, nose and mouth.

    Adrenaline pumping through her veins, she charged as fast as her sinewy legs could carry her. Rain fell like tears from the sky as Sarah ran blindly into the path of a Ven'eelg.

    “Where are you going Ssssarah? The masssster wantsss you,” it hissed. Its yellow eyes followed her every move.

    Sarah's heart skipped a beat as she faced the creature.

    It sprang like a bolt of lightning, hissing viciously, spitting out lethal black venom.

    Instinctively, she dodged the poison. The venom landed on a rock instead, dissolving it instantly.

    The Ven’eelg's diamond shaped head turned to face her as its tail
    coiled up like a spring, its fangs dripping with black venom. It stood upright like a man, his human-like arms imposing.

    She'd never forgotten their strength, having seen them
    rip off the arms of a fellow captive a while back as its
    leathery snake-like tail squeezed the life out of a young child.

    “Look at you. Your friends died in vain,” said the Ven'eelg. Its mouth curled into a smirk.

    Something snapped inside her, awakening the warrior that slept within.
    “Enough!” she cried.

    An odd calm came upon her as she picked up a large shard of glass that lay on the ground.
    “Sssssilly Sssarah. Think you can essssscape? You'll fare no better than your friend ****,” mocked the Ven’eelg.

    With knees bent, glass in hand, her large eyes stared at the
    thin-skinned human torso as she prepared to attack.

    **** came to mind, how she'd lunged at a Ven'eelg's reptilian tail with her steel knife. The knife broke.

    She turned on her attacker and stabbed the beast’s torso with the
    glass. “For ****!” she cried.

    Black blood spurted out. The creature doubled over and shrieked in pain.

    A wicked satisfaction welled up within her. She lunged at the Ven'eelg again, thrusting the glass into its thin-skinned back. “For Joey!”

    “You vile human!” it screamed as it lashed its tail at her.

    Sarah fled, right into the path of two others.

    “The massster isss not letting you go,” one of them hissed at her.

    What massster? What's that massster got to do with me?

    Ven'eelgs swarmed the entire courtyard, like ants over spilled honey. There was nowhere she could run without colliding into these beasts.

    Then it happened. An invisible hand touched her head, making her entire body tingle.

    The Ven'eelg grabbed at her again.

    Her heart jumped as she leaped away.

    I'm flying!! What's going on?!

    Liberated, she soared in the air, like a bird freed from its cage.

    Grasping hands brushed against her as she flew over the sea of Ven'eelgs. One such hand clutched onto her gown, pulling her down. “I got the human!” it cried.

    Her heart pounded as she ripped her dress. The Ven'eelg was left clutching a shred of bloodstained silk from the gown she wore.

    Flying higher, she could see beneath her, a vast expanse of rubble. Ven'eelgs slithered around stones, overflowing from the castle ruins. A mountain range beckoned to her in the horizon. That was where she would go. “There's safety in the mountains,” her father always said.

    Then she faltered. Blood drained from her face. Her power of flight left as suddenly as it came.

    Falling from the sky like a bird shot down by a hunter, she screamed.

    Stunned, she landed on top of a Ven'eelg, pinning it to the ground. Hastily, she picked herself up. She leaped in an attempt to fly. This time, she fell flat on her face.

    A Ven'eelg sprang up and coiled itself around her. “The massster isss waiting for you!” it said.

    The stench of its breath nearly suffocated her. Acid from its leathery tail burned through her skin.

    Tears streamed from her eyes. The pain cut right through her. Fumes from the acid got into her eyes. She could barely see.

    The beast tightened its grip.
    Sarah could barely breathe. Head spinning, she passed out.



  2. #2
    Richard Clunan
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    combination of remembering and being reminded. i wrote an ms from child's pov - after i finished a draft, i thought maybe i've got it all to pot, so i went and sat on a train around finishing school time - and went back happy that i hadn't got it all to pot. it might also help to write something in the first person from teh childs pov - to get in their skin, maybe.. dunno.

  3. #3
    gulliver h
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    just out of curiousity...how does Sarah know what a closet that holds decomposing bodies smells like? Doesn't that sound a little strange to you? Phrased like that?

    Sorry, not my genre, and a bit melodramatic for me, but...you also have some punctuation challenges--commas where they shouldn't be, but not where they should, etc. It's a little overwritten as well, but that may also be genre. Which is what, exactly?

    It's not terribly written, but it is jumpy and jarring in bits. The language trips a little. (bolts of lightening don't generally 'spring'. etc.)

  4. #4
    Janice wee
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    Science fiction fantasy horror actually.

  5. #5
    Janice wee
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    I made some changes to the opening based on some comments. Sarah is a young woman. I changed the opening to clarify that.

    Would this style work for a sci-fi fantasy story? Too flowery? Too abrupt? How do I get it just right?

    Which are the fantasy authors should I learn from?

    ------------------------------------

    Like icicles, moonbeams stabbed through cracks in the tunnel, lighting the way. Sarah peered straight ahead, not daring to look back. Her heart was racing, her lungs were about to explode as she sprinted for dear life.

    They\'re coming.

    Tripping on a decomposing prisoner, the young woman stifled a scream. Her strong hands trembled as they caught her fall. The tunnel smelled like a closet – one full of dead rats. Sarah shuddered at the thought of the monstrosities that had eaten the skin and flesh of this prisoner.

    “Ssssaraaahh.. Ssssaraaahh..”

    The hissing voices of her captors filled the air. “There issss no essscape..”

    Shadows of a Ven\'eelg and its prisoner danced ahead of her obstructing her way out.

    Joey!

    “Go for it!” said the man.

    Her cousin yanked the chain that bound him to the Ven\'eelg, driving his knee into its chest. Bending over in pain, the creature hissed furiously.

    Sarah dashed behind the Ven\'eelg, right out of the tunnel, and into an immense courtyard.

    “Sssstupid human,” it hissed. The Ven\'eelg sank its fangs into Joey\'s thigh.

    He screamed.

    Sarah glanced back. Her cheeks felt like ice.

    Joey\'s body thrashed uncontrollably against the ground, like one possessed. His skin shriveled up as black venom oozed out of his eyes, nose and mouth.

    Adrenaline pumping through her veins, Sarah charged as fast as her sinewy legs could carry her, right into the path of a Ven\'eelg.

    “Where are you going Ssssarah? The masssster wantsss you,” it hissed. Its yellow eyes followed her every move.

    Sarah\'s heart skipped a beat as she faced the creature.

    It sprang at her, hissing viciously, spitting out lethal black venom.

    Instinctively, she dodged the poison. The venom landed on a rock instead, dissolving it instantly.

    The Ven’eelg\'s diamond shaped head turned to face her as its tail coiled up like a spring, its fangs dripping with black venom. It stood upright like a man, his human-like arms imposing.

    She\'d never forgotten their strength, having seen them
    rip off the arms of a fellow captive a while back as its
    leathery snake-like tail squeezed the life out of a young child.

    “Look at you. Your friends died in vain,” said the Ven\'eelg. Its mouth curled into a smirk.

    Something snapped inside her, awakening the warrior that slept within.
    “Enough!” she cried.

    An odd calm came upon her as she picked up a large shard of glass that lay on the ground.

    “Sssssilly Sssarah. Think you can essssscape? You\'ll fare no better than your friend ****,” mocked the Ven’eelg.

    With knees bent, glass in hand, her large eyes stared at the thin-skinned human torso as she prepared to attack.

    **** came to mind, how she\'d lunged at a Ven\'eelg\'s reptilian tail with her steel knife. The knife broke.

    She turned on her attacker and stabbed the beast’s torso with the glass. “For ****!” she cried.

    Black blood spurted out. The creature doubled over and shrieked in pain.

    A wicked satisfaction welled up within her. She lunged at the Ven\'eelg again, thrusting the glass into its thin-skinned back. “For Joey!”

    “You vile human!” it screamed as it lashed its tail at her.

    Sarah fled, straight into the path of two others.

    “The massster isss not letting you go,” one of them hissed at her.

    What massster? What\'s that massster got to do with me?

    Ven\'eelgs swarmed the entire courtyard, like ants over spilled honey. There was nowhere she could run without colliding into these beasts.

    Then it happened. An invisible hand touched her head, making her entire body tingle.

    The Ven\'eelg grabbed at her again.

    Her heart jumped as she leaped away.

    I\'m flying!! What\'s going on?!

    Liberated, she soared in the air, like a bird freed from its cage.

    Grasping hands brushed against her as she flew over the sea of Ven\'eelgs. One such hand clutched onto her gown, pulling her down. “I got the human!” it cried.

    Her heart pounded as she ripped her dress. The Ven\'eelg was left clutching a shred of bloodstained silk from the gown she wore.

    Flying higher, she could see beneath her, a vast expanse of rubble. Ven\'eelgs slithered around stones, overflowing from the castle ruins. A mountain range beckoned to her in the horizon. That was where she would go. “There\'s safety in the mountains,” her father always said.

    Then she faltered. Blood drained from her face. Her power of flight left as suddenly as it came.

    Falling from the sky like a bird shot down by a hunter, she screamed.

    Stunned, she landed on top of a Ven\'eelg, pinning it to the ground. Hastily, she picked herself up. She leaped in an attempt to fly. This time, she fell flat on her face.

    A Ven\'eelg sprang up and coiled itself around her. “The massster isss waiting for you!” it said.

    The stench of its breath nearly suffocated her. Acid from its leathery tail burned through her skin.

    Tears streamed from her eyes. The pain cut right through her. Fumes from the acid got into her eyes. She could barely see.

    The beast tightened its grip.
    Sarah could barely breathe. Head spinning, she passed out.

  6. #6
    Kaci Chandler
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    I'd watch the clichés-- there are three in the first sentence alone:
    "Her heart was racing, her lungs were about to explode, as she sprinted for dear life".

  7. #7
    Janice wee
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    I tried removing the cliches in this rewrite and make it less jarring. Does this work?
    ---------------------------
    Moonbeams stabbed through cracks in the tunnel, lighting the way. Sarah peered straight ahead, not daring to look back. As she sprinted, her heart thumped with the urgent beat of a battle drum.

    They're coming.

    Tripping on a decomposing prisoner, the young woman stifled a scream. Her strong hands trembled as they caught her fall. The tunnel smelled like a closet – one full of dead rats. Sarah shuddered at the thought of the monstrosities that had eaten the skin and flesh of this prisoner.
    “Ssssaraaahh.. Ssssaraaahh..”
    The hissing voices of her captors filled the air. “There issss no essscape..”

    Shadows of a Ven'eelg and its prisoner danced ahead of her obstructing her way out.

    Joey!

    “Go for it!” said the man.

    Her cousin yanked the chain that bound him to the Ven'eelg, driving his knee into its chest. Doubling over, the creature hissed furiously.

    Sarah dashed behind the Ven'eelg, right out of the tunnel, and into an immense courtyard.

    “Sssstupid human,” it hissed. The Ven'eelg sank its fangs into Joey's thigh.

    Joey's body thrashed uncontrollably against the ground, as if possessed. His skin shriveled up as black venom oozed out of his eyes, nose and mouth.

    Adrenaline pumping through her veins, Sarah charged as fast as her sinewy legs could carry her, right into the path of a Ven'eelg.

    “Where are you going Ssssarah? The masssster wantsss you,” it hissed. Its yellow eyes followed her every move. Without warning, it sprang at her and spat a lethal black venom.

    Her heart jumped. Spinning around, she dodged the poison. The venom landed on a rock, dissolving it instantly.

    The Ven’eelg's diamond shaped head turned to face her as its tail
    coiled up like a spring. Its fangs dripped with black venom. It stood upright, his human-like arms imposing.

    She'd never forgotten their strength, having seen them
    rip off the arms of a fellow captive a while back as its
    leathery snake-like tail squeezed the life out of a young child.

    “Look at you. Your friendsss died in vain,” said the Ven'eelg. Its mouth curled into a smirk.

    Something snapped inside her, awakening the warrior that slept within.
    “Enough!” she cried.

    An odd calm came upon her as she picked up a large shard of glass that lay on the ground.

    “Sssssilly Sssarah. Think you can essssscape? You'll fare no better than your friend ****.”

    Sarah turned on her attacker and stabbed the beast’s torso with the
    glass. “For ****!” she cried.

    Black blood spurted out. The creature doubled over and shrieked.
    A wicked satisfaction welled up within her. She lunged at the Ven'eelg again, thrusting the glass into its back.
    “For Joey!”
    “You vile human!” it screamed as it lashed its tail at her.

    Sarah fled, straight into the path of two others.

    “The massster isss not letting you go,” one of them hissed at her.

    What massster? What's that massster got to do with me?

    Ven'eelgs swarmed the entire courtyard, like ants over spilled honey. Every possible route would lead her straight to these beasts.

    Then it happened. An invisible hand touched her head, making her entire body tingle.

    She stood there, momentarily shocked, when a Ven'eelg sprang at her.

    Instinctively, she leaped away.

    I'm flying!! What's going on?!

    Liberated, she soared in the air, like a bird freed from its cage.
    Grasping hands brushed against her as she flew over the sea of Ven'eelgs. One such hand clutched onto her gown, pulling her down. “I got the human!” it cried.

    Her heart pounded as she ripped her dress, leaving behind a shred of bloodstained silk from the gown she wore.

    Flying higher, she could see beneath her, a vast expanse of rubble. Ven'eelgs slithered amongst stones, overflowing from the castle ruins. A mountain range beckoned to her in the horizon.
    “There's safety in the mountains,” her father always said. That was where she would go.

    Then she faltered. Blood drained from her face. Her power of flight left as suddenly as it came.

    Falling from the sky like a bird shot down by a hunter, she screamed.

    Of all places, Sarah landed smack in a cluster of Ven'eelgs. Picking herself up, she leaped in an attempt to fly. This time falling flat on her face.

    A Ven'eelg sprang up and coiled itself around her. “The massster isss waiting for you!” it said.

    The stench of its breath nearly suffocated her. Acid from its leathery tail burned through her skin. Fumes from the acid got into her eyes.

    Tearing profusely, she could barely see.

    The beast tightened its grip.

    Sarah could not breathe. The world spun around her as darkness held her captive.

  8. #8
    Janice wee
    Guest

    Re: What do you think of this new opening

    I tried removing the cliches in this rewrite and make it less jarring. Does this work?
    ---------------------------
    Moonbeams stabbed through cracks in the tunnel, lighting the way. Sarah peered straight ahead, not daring to look back. As she sprinted, her heart thumped with the urgent beat of a battle drum.

    They're coming.

    Tripping on a decomposing prisoner, the young woman stifled a scream. Her strong hands trembled as they caught her fall. The tunnel smelled like a closet – one full of dead rats. Sarah shuddered at the thought of the monstrosities that had eaten the skin and flesh of this prisoner.
    “Ssssaraaahh.. Ssssaraaahh..”
    The hissing voices of her captors filled the air. “There issss no essscape..”

    Shadows of a Ven'eelg and its prisoner danced ahead of her obstructing her way out.

    Joey!

    “Go for it!” said the man.

    Her cousin yanked the chain that bound him to the Ven'eelg, driving his knee into its chest. Doubling over, the creature hissed furiously.

    Sarah dashed behind the Ven'eelg, right out of the tunnel, and into an immense courtyard.

    “Sssstupid human,” it hissed. The Ven'eelg sank its fangs into Joey's thigh.

    Joey's body thrashed uncontrollably against the ground, as if possessed. His skin shriveled up as black venom oozed out of his eyes, nose and mouth.

    Adrenaline pumping through her veins, Sarah charged as fast as her sinewy legs could carry her, right into the path of a Ven'eelg.

    “Where are you going Ssssarah? The masssster wantsss you,” it hissed. Its yellow eyes followed her every move. Without warning, it sprang at her and spat a lethal black venom.

    Her heart jumped. Spinning around, she dodged the poison. The venom landed on a rock, dissolving it instantly.

    The Ven’eelg's diamond shaped head turned to face her as its tail
    coiled up like a spring. Its fangs dripped with black venom. It stood upright, his human-like arms imposing.

    She'd never forgotten their strength, having seen them
    rip off the arms of a fellow captive a while back as its
    leathery snake-like tail squeezed the life out of a young child.

    “Look at you. Your friendsss died in vain,” said the Ven'eelg. Its mouth curled into a smirk.

    Something snapped inside her, awakening the warrior that slept within.
    “Enough!” she cried.

    An odd calm came upon her as she picked up a large shard of glass that lay on the ground.

    “Sssssilly Sssarah. Think you can essssscape? You'll fare no better than your friend ****.”

    Sarah turned on her attacker and stabbed the beast’s torso with the
    glass. “For ****!” she cried.

    Black blood spurted out. The creature doubled over and shrieked.
    A wicked satisfaction welled up within her. She lunged at the Ven'eelg again, thrusting the glass into its back.
    “For Joey!”
    “You vile human!” it screamed as it lashed its tail at her.

    Sarah fled, straight into the path of two others.

    “The massster isss not letting you go,” one of them hissed at her.

    What massster? What's that massster got to do with me?

    Ven'eelgs swarmed the entire courtyard, like ants over spilled honey. Every possible route would lead her straight to these beasts.

    Then it happened. An invisible hand touched her head, making her entire body tingle.

    She stood there, momentarily shocked, when a Ven'eelg sprang at her.

    Instinctively, she leaped away.

    I'm flying!! What's going on?!

    Liberated, she soared in the air, like a bird freed from its cage.
    Grasping hands brushed against her as she flew over the sea of Ven'eelgs. One such hand clutched onto her gown, pulling her down. “I got the human!” it cried.

    Her heart pounded as she ripped her dress, leaving behind a shred of bloodstained silk from the gown she wore.

    Flying higher, she could see beneath her, a vast expanse of rubble. Ven'eelgs slithered amongst stones, overflowing from the castle ruins. A mountain range beckoned to her in the horizon.
    “There's safety in the mountains,” her father always said. That was where she would go.

    Then she faltered. Blood drained from her face. Her power of flight left as suddenly as it came.

    Falling from the sky like a bird shot down by a hunter, she screamed.

    Of all places, Sarah landed smack in a cluster of Ven'eelgs. Picking herself up, she leaped in an attempt to fly. This time falling flat on her face.

    A Ven'eelg sprang up and coiled itself around her. “The massster isss waiting for you!” it said.

    The stench of its breath nearly suffocated her. Acid from its leathery tail burned through her skin. Fumes from the acid got into her eyes.

    Tearing profusely, she could barely see.

    The beast tightened its grip.

    Sarah could not breathe. The world spun around her as darkness held her captive.

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