Monday, 15 October 2012

Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest - The Story

My query took quite the hammering during the first week of The Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest, finally settling at the Ninth Version.

But now it's time to let loose the first page of The Rogue King ...
Genre: Science Fantasy
Word Count: 199,000 ... ^_^


Koral looked up through the glass panel in the metal ceiling. The combined light of four moons made it difficult to see the stars. Only a scant few shone bright enough to punch through that pallid glow. Which one of those dots, out of the hundreds he knew were truly out there, belonged to the alien creatures raising him? They'd come from another world, somewhere beyond the moons and the twin suns. From a planet they called Earth.

He wished the same could be said about him. But then, he'd wished for countless things during the past twelve years of his life. None of them had come true either.

"Excuse me." 
Koral winced at the words. His birth-mother had caught him. Again. And she didn't sound all that pleased with him. He sighed. Prepared for the lecture that he knew was to follow, Koral turned to face her.

Hands on hips, Amelia stood in the doorway of his tiny room aboard the spaceship. "Get your tail back to bed, mister." She was considered short by the men, who weren't, at least in his mind, that much taller than her. Koral had recently surpassed all of them in height and their latest bio scans promised he would grow further still.

The tip of his tail wriggled between his ankles as his gaze fell to her booted feet. How did she always manage to move so silently on the metal flooring? "Tell me another story," he said, giving her the smile that usually let him get his way.

"Very well," she said with a sigh, humour tweaking her lips. Even with Amelia indulging his whimsy, there were times he felt certain he'd seen a flicker of unease in her dark-green eyes. "I suppose, seeing that it is your birthday, I can be lenient. Which one shall it be?"

The battle won again, he dove under his bedcovers and waited while she tucked him in. "I want to hear about the space ship."


There we go. The first page as it appears in MS Word. ^_^

18 comments:

  1. Twelve years old and manipulating his adoptive mother, just as all children do, but of course we let them. :)

    I wanted to hear the story too!

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    1. Oh yes. Isn't it amazing how well children can do that at times. ^_^

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  2. I'm definitely interested to know more! I just wanted to make a few small suggestions.

    1. "A weary sigh escaped his nostrils as he turned to face his birth-mother." For some reason this sentence just isn't working for me. I would think based on the context that he would be frustrated at being caught again rather than weary. Also, you could probably rewrite as "He sighed as he turned to face his birth-mother," which is a bit more active and direct.

    2. "She was considered short by the men, who weren't much taller than her." I'm confused. Why would she be considered short if she's basically the same height?

    3. I think you do a good job establishing the relationship between mother and child, so good in fact that I don't think you need the sentence "Amelia often indulged him." I think we get that already-- at least I did!

    Overall, very neat! I like it and would read on.

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    1. Thanks for pointing out what's not working for you.

      1. Okay. I'll leave the nostril sighing to my vampire horse. >:)

      2. I'm still working on that. The men think she's short, Koral sees all of them as being of similiar height.

      3. Giving that another read through, I think I may merge and reword that sentence with the one after.

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  3. I liked your first page. Love the interaction between mother and son. I agree with Yolanda, I wanted to hear the story too!

    The only thing I might suggest is to vary your sentences a little. They all seem to be similar in length. I've received feedback on that myself, so while I'm not expert on the matter, I recognize it b/c it's something that I struggle with.

    Great job!!

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    1. Are they? I hadn't noticed. Must go check on that now.

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  4. It has a very soothing quality. Calm before the storm, right? Nicely done.

    I've tagged you in the "looking at you" writer's challenge. =) Are you up for it?

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    1. Oh very much the calm before the storm. ^_^

      And I am so up for that challenge!

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  5. Hi there, fellow minion coming through. I like the domestic scene juxtaposed with the alien landscape, relatable sci-fi :) I agree about sighing through nostrils. My only other comment is that the following was a bit confusing, maybe only for me.

    Which one of those dots, out of the hundreds he knew were truly out there, belonged to the alien creatures raising him? They'd come from another world, somewhere beyond the moons and the twin suns. From a planet they called Earth.

    He wished the same could be said about him. But then, he'd wished for countless things during the past twelve years of his life. None of them had come true either.

    "Excuse me."
    Koral winced at the words. A weary sigh escaped his nostrils as he turned to face his birth-mother.

    Isn't his birth-mother raising him? Why would he call her an alien creature? He wished what could be said about him?

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    1. Heh, this is why I call it Science Fantasy (technology got all up in my magical realm). Though, if I'm honest, more fantasy than sci-fi. And there's gods ... my goodness are there gods. Twenty in fact. Why did I make a system based on so many gods?
      What's that? I'm twisted? Oh. Well that clears that up then. ^_^



      Okay, to answer your questions. I seem to get versions of them whenever I post a short piece and never on the longer ones. I'm hoping that means I'm giving adequate explanations throughout the first chapter.

      *Ahem*

      Isn't his birth-mother raising him?
      Simply put: Yes. ^_^

      Why would he call her an alien creature?
      Because she's human, he ain't. (Hopefully, my recent alterations have made this a little clearer.) If they were the same species, he'd call her 'mother'. 'Cause that's how they roll.

      He wished what could be said about him?
      That he -was- human.

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  6. Great potential. Without seeing more, I can't say. But I think this endearing scene should be moved later. Our sensory overloaded readers want action up front. They are like cats. They like things that move. Just switch a few things around, if you want. Like any advice, you have to decide if it's good. Best of luck!

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    1. I'm not the great literary genius. The bulk of reading which I do is from the authors Jean M Auel, Trudi Canavan and David Gemmell. Upon reading the first page which is full of description it has already made me to want to read more. Since when does a creature with a tail have a human birth mother? Looking forward to reading more.

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    2. Hey James.
      I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you there. Readers are not like cats. Unless you're talking about my cats, then they'll sit by one bowl for ages waiting for it to be filled instead of crossing the room to the full bowls on the other side.
      Then yes, readers are picky.
      By the by, I just don't get that 'must start with action' trip everyone is on. Not every book needs it, not every book has it, not every reader likes it. But everyone insists on it. But I read a lot of older novels, some with slower starts, so maybe I'm just out of date. But it's what I read, it's what I enjoy, and it's how I write.
      I'm also one of those buggers who like description.


      In any case, I once tried to follow some else's similar advice. I could not do it without sacrificing the nature of this chapter and its story. As Crystal said further up, this is the calm before the storm. He flees from his home and into the arms of those who will end up betraying him.

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    3. Oh, hey there Jason, you must've popped by while I was replying to James.
      Thanks for reading my work. Nice to see you liked it. ^_^ I've only read Canavan's Magician's trilogy myself, but been considering Gemmell.

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  7. I know, with everyone chiming in offering advice, it can be overwhelming. Only YOU know your book well enough to realize the advice would benefit your manuscript or not.

    I'm trying to keep my chin up and my emotions at bay while all the great advice I'm receiving is working miracles for my techniques.

    I'm finding it hard when one person says one thing and it's followed by someone else saying just the opposite...

    Anyway, your descriptions are great.

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    1. I'm a little more lenient with my other stories than this one. It's fifteen years old and has been altered and tweaked and changed (and added to >_>). I learnt the rules along the way with this and the story is now where I feel it's ready to be considered for publication.
      So nowadays, I'm so darn stubborn about what changes I'll allow for The Rogue King. I must agree 100% before I'll even try it. ^_^

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  8. I'm more of a fangirl than a crit partner at heart, so I am just going to say I loved it. I agree that it seems like the calm before the storm. I have no idea what happens next, but I still found myself bracing for it. The mother thing confused me a little bit but I'm not sure there would be a way to fix that without going into info-dump mode for this page. I'm a reader of faith, I guess. I have faith that the writer will explain it soon. :) Great job!

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    1. Heh, I sometimes have to reel in my inner fangirl and bring out the CP when I'm critiquing. I consider it a good sign that I can get attached to their characters.

      Yeah, info-dumping would be the only way to explain the mother situation on the first page and it'd feel unnatural too ... all I can say is it's hopefully explained enough before the chapter's halfway mark.

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