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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Beginning of Amethyst

    So I finished writing my book, but I wanted to put the beginning up here. It is the part I've had the most issues with getting right, I think, so let me know what you think.

    Chemay glanced down the hall, brushing a strand of straight brown hair from her face before slipping from the empty classroom. Quickly making her way to her locker, she glanced back once more before opening it.

    The sound of footsteps made her spin around nervously, but it was only a janitor. She turned back to her locker and continued gathering her things, her draconic tail twitching.

    She quietly closed her locker, hoping that she would be able to escape the school unnoticed.

    "Well, fellas. Look what just came in on the reject wagon."

    Chemay winced. She knew she wouldn't escape. It was the last day of the school week; they always came after her on the last day.

    She turned around slowly to face a group of six kids, all in her grade. At their head was a tall boy, slightly chubby, his yellow tail whipping back and forth. It was he who had spoken.

    "Leave me alone, Philpi," Chemay said quietly, glancing down the hallway at the school"s main doors.

    He smiled and looked around at his friends. He didn't say anything out loud, but they all began laughing.

    One of the kids stepped around Chemay and pushed her into the center of the group. She kept her head down, glancing again toward the door, hoping that they would stick to verbal tormenting.

    "And tell me, freak," Philpi said, grinning, "just what are you going to do to make me leave you alone?"

    Chemay was silent.

    "Exactly," he continued. "You can't do anything, because you have no trace powers. No telepathy, and no trace power. Nothing."

    He let his gang laugh for a moment before cutting them off. "You know what," he said, "since I am in a good mood, and because I am such a generous person, I will allow you to see what true powers look like."

    So much with staying to verbal abuse. Out of the corner of her eye, Chemay could see a bright light, the product of Philpi's trace power.

    "You're supposed to look at someone when they're showing you something, freak," Philpi said, a hint of irritation in his voice.

    Reluctantly she looked up. Philpi was casually tossing a ball of fire up and down.

    "That's better," Philpi said. He gave his friends a mental command and they moved to grab Chemay's arms. She was expecting this, however, and ducked out of the way, dashing through the gap that had formed in the circle.

    "Should we go after her?" one of his group asked.

    Philpi grinned. "Nah, we'll just give her a little parting gift." With a sudden movement he sent the fireball flying after her.

    Chemay cried out as the fireball hit her arm. Frantically she scraped at her arm until the fire was out.

    Stumbling on, she finally made it out of the school, Philpi and his gang laughing behind her.

    * * *

    It took Chemay fifteen minutes to reach her house, nearly twice as long as normal.

    She took off her backpack as she entered her bedroom, accidentally rubbing her arm with one of the straps. The sudden pain made her cry out, and she sat on her bed for a few moments as blue blood ran down her arm from the broken skin.

    She finished removing the backpack and made her way toward the bathroom. On the way she stumbled and would have fallen if someone hadn't suddenly caught her.

    Confused, for there should have been no one else home, she looked back over her shoulder.

    "Hi little sis."

    "Rinah! Why are you here?" Chemay asked. "I thought you were living out on the plains."

    "What, I'm not allowed to visit?" Rinah replied, helping Chemay regain her balance. As Rinah grasped her arm Chemay cried out again and jerked away from her older sister.

    "What's wrong?" Rinah asked.

    "One of Philpi"s fireballs. Usually his gang doesn't do more than push me around. I don't know why he went so far this time."

    Rinah sighed. "Can't you ever stay out of trouble?" she asked. "Come on, let's see how bad it is." She helped Chemay the rest of the way to the bathroom.

    Chemay's upper arm was an angry blue, covered in developing blisters. In one area the skin had been blackened and it was this area that had been torn open. Blue-colored blood flowed from the split.

    Rinah shook her head at the sight of the wound. "Seriously little sis, when are you going to learn how to defend yourself?" There was a touch of disappointment in her voice.

    "I can't," Chemay said. "What am I supposed to do against fire-balls, or iced floors, or invisible walls, or whatever else those morons choose to throw at me? I don't have anything to counter with."

    Rinah sighed and finished dressing Chemay's arm.

    "Chemay," she finally said, after she finished tying the bandage, "the reason I came home was because mom wants us all to go to the Festival this year. She thinks it would be good for the family to go. We can't go if you keep getting yourself hurt, though. You can't travel with a broken leg or a concussion."

    Chemay turned to face her sister. "Did mom really say that we could go to the Festival?"

    Rinah nodded. "She even told me that stupid story again. The one about when she went as a kid."

    "I want to hear it," Chemay said.

    "Why? You've heard it a million times before, and besides, you're fifteen. You're too old for stories."

    "You're twenty and mom still tells you stories whenever she calls you."

    "Not like I have a choice," Rinah said, "but fine. I'll tell you once, but then I have some important business I have to see to, so leave me alone afterward."

    "Sure, fine," Chemay said.

    "When mom was young," Rinah began, "her family took her to First, our capital city, to see the Festival. The houses there were very different from how we build them here. There, they build the houses right into the trees: in the hollowed bases and up in the branches. Slender walkways span the upper levels, connecting everything together."

    "They arrived a few days early, so they were able to watch as First filled up with people from all parts of the nation. There were humans and dragons in equal measure, which was, in itself, a new experience for someone who came from a town almost fully populated by humans."

    "Finally the first evening of the Festival was at hand. Mom followed her parents to the Great Clearing at the very center of First. There, the mind-link ceremony was to take place. The other Alumbians gathered as well. Suddenly, the five Protectors appeared on the raised platform in the center of the clearing. They spread their minds and began the mind-link."

    "Everyone there linked their minds together, letting the upper layers combine with the minds of those around them."

    "Finally, after nearly an hour, the mind-link ended. Mom felt herself come back to her own body and she opened her eyes. There, standing in front of her, was one of the Protectors. Her hair and tail were tinged with blue."

    "Sapphire, for that was who she was, smiled down at mom. 'We don't often see younglings from elsewhere here, child,' Sapphire said. 'Welcome to First.'"

    "There," Rinah said. "I told you the story, now you can leave me alone."

    Chemay frowned. "How will I join the mind-link? I'm mind-blind. I can't use or hear telepathy."

    "That's part of the reason mom wants to take you. She figures that maybe the Protectors can awaken trace powers in you. Now leave me alone, I have important matters to see to." She stood and walked to her old bedroom, leaving Chemay alone.

    Chemay remained sitting. She knew that if anyone could awaken her trace powers, it was the Alumbian Protectors. A group which currently consisted of five women, with powers far beyond those of any other Alumbian, they guided the nation. They were led by Pearl, the first of their order. According to history they gained their powers through the Light-gems, each of which contained an immense amount of power that could be claimed by a living person.

    Ever since Pearl gained her powers over five hundred years ago the Alumbian Protectors had been the champions of the nation, protecting and guiding them. The Protectors were not rulers, per se, as Alumbia was mostly run by local governments, but in times of war they would lead the nation.

    It was the aspiration of most children to rise to the rank of Alumbian Protector, for no one but the Protectors knew how many of the Light-gems there were.

    Slowly Chemay stood and walked to her room. If she could just speak with one of the Protectors, surely all of her troubles would be over...

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Chemay glanced down the hall, brushing a strand of straight brown hair from her face before slipping from the empty classroom. Quickly making her way to her locker, she glanced back once more before opening it.

    Your opening paragraph, right? Two lines. Please note:

    glanced down the hall
    glanced back once more

    before slipping from the empty classroom
    before opening it.

    This kind of repetition in a short opening paragraph does not hold the reader's interest.

    Use your vocabulary. Try not to repeat yourself.

    Scan the entire transcript and find all the places you've used the same words. You may be surprised at the amount of repetition. Even the best writers tend to use repeat same words too frequently.
    Last edited by leslee; 01-28-2012 at 11:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    First, congratulations on completion of your novel.

    The verb 'glanced' jumped out at me. You should vary your verbs and sentence pattern. I would also examine the flow of the sentences as well going over each sentence to eliminate a bunch of clutter. You gotten what you want to say down, now try to say it clearly. For example, is there any way you could have written "She turned around slowly to face a group of six kids, all in her grade.", more compactly? Using fewer words and conveying the same message? I would probably consider this a rough draft..

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I don't think you need the first 3 paragraphs at all. It reads better if you open with "Well, fellas..." Good Luck!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Wouldn't Chemay know the names of the other kids, rather than referring to them "one of his group," etc.? Written this way, they're faceless entities. Trust me, kids who are bullied know the names of every single person who picks on them. I also think it should be made clearer in the beginning what the age of the characters are. When I read "all in her grade" I thought of middle school or younger.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Rinah provides information in the guise of a story, and that's good. In some places it reads too much like a narrative though and not a conversation that she is supposed to be having with her sister. Maybe break up the narrative with some movement. Rinah walks to the window. Rinah turns to face her sister. Chemay picks at her fingernail as Rinah accuses her of not listening. Or something.

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