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Prologue (Novel still untitled) ~1200 words

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Old 04-02-2012, 06:52 AM
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Default Prologue (Novel still untitled) ~1200 words


This is a first (very rough) draft of the prologue to my WIP. Feedback always appreciated

I’m running. I don’t know why I’m running but I know I have to keep running. And I’m bleeding. Why the hell am I bleeding? I keep looking for somewhere to hide so I can stop to think but there is nothing but flat earth for miles in every direction. Perhaps I could climb a tree and wait for it to go away, whatever it is I am running from. But I don’t. I just keep running. Suddenly there is a sharp pain in my arm and I’m sure they must have found me but when I turn around there is no one. My arm starts to burn where I am sure I must have been stabbed, but how? The burning is spreading; my hands, my back, my legs, until it is unbearable and I can’t even bring myself to move. Not just stabbed by an invisible knife but stabbed by an invisible knife laced with poison. This is not turning out to be a good day. Out of nowhere a blinding light appears in front of me. I’m dead. I must be.

I open my eyes and find myself being blinded by a lamp hanging over my face. Not dead then. My eyes drop to my left arm where I had been stabbed expecting, hoping even, to find some sign that I wasn’t entirely crazy. What I find is a dark blue liquid being pumped into me by through a needle taped to my arm. I immediately try to rip it out but am unable to move my arms; they’re bound at the wrists. I try to work my hands through the braces but they’re too tight and for some reason I can barely move.
I’m getting ready to try again when I get the feeling I’m being watched. I look over and a see a lady sitting at a table in the corner mouthing something I can’t understand. It takes a moment before I realize she’s trying to talk to me, but I can’t hear a word she’s saying. Every word is mumbled and I have never been good with reading lips. I’m just about to tell her to speak up when all at once my hearing comes back and I can hear her yelling at me from across the room. I must have made a face because the next time she talks she is much quieter and finally I understand her.
“Can you tell me your name, dear?” I hate when people call me dear. Especially when they are asking me stupid questions.
“Anadilyn Kairyl.”
“Very good! How about your birthday?”
“November 17, 1143.”
Another stupidly enthusiastic smile accompanied by “Great!” This continues on for another couple of minutes. She asks me a stupid question and is ecstatic when I answer correctly. I’m just about to go off on her and her smiles when a man walks into the room and she abruptly shuts up. Miss Smiles hands the man the clipboard, where I imagine she has been drawing happy faces and stars next to every correct answer, and practically skips out of the room. She should be the one tied to a table.
The man pulls a chair next to my bed and, after staring at the clipboard a moment, looks up at me.
“Good morning Anadilyn. How are we feeling this morning?” At this point I have just about had it with these people and their stupid questions. But I want to be let out of these stupid braces so I go along with it.
“Aside from the braces cutting off my circulation I’m doing just fine.” Well, I at least try to go along with it. But it must have been enough because he starts laughing and removes the bands from my wrists. I feel my fingers tingle as the blood flows back into them.
“There we are. Much better, hmm?” I mumble a thanks as I sit up, careful not to disturb the needle in my arm. A pain shoots through my left shoulder when I try to put weight on it. Fantastic.
“You must be wondering why you are here,” He stops as if expecting me to say something but now that my arms are free I’m done answering stupid questions. When after a moment I don’t respond he continues on his own. “You were attacked Anadilyn. Do you remember?” I start to shake my head but then I stop. Maybe it wasn’t just a dream. He stares at me, this time insisting on an answer.
“I don’t know. I had this dream that I was running from something, only I couldn’t remember what it was. And I was bleeding but I didn’t know why.”
I was afraid he was going to think I was crazy and lock me back up, but he only nodded and said, “Its not uncommon to relive a trauma in your dreams. And under severe circumstances the mind will often block out the worst of it, as you seem to have done.” What could be so bad that my mind would try to block it out?
“What happened? What can’t I remember?”
He hesitates and for a moment I’m afraid he isn’t going to tell me anything.
“You an your mother were out practicing in the mouth of the Plains of Ikba, just outside Oridün territory. Do you remember that?” I don’t. My mother wasn’t with me in the dream, was she? I just shake my head to get him to keep talking.
“From what we can tell while you were practicing a band of rebels attacked you. You were too far away from the city for anyone to help and you were greatly outnumbered. At least one of them had a blade and sliced open your shoulder on your left- don’t worry it wasn’t very deep but it did leave a scar.” That explains the pain when I tried to sit up. I don’t mind having a scar; it’ll make a good conversation starter.
“We can’t say for sure exactly what happened after that. One of our scouts saw you running towards the city and then you just collapsed. I went out and got you and brought you back here. I’ve had you in an induced coma for a few days while you recovered.” He leans back against the chair and sighed, which makes me wonder what exactly I was recovering from. My shoulder on its own wouldn’t have required me being put into a coma. And none of this is anywhere near traumatic enough for my mind to block it out. There’s something he’s not telling me. I sit quietly for a moment, running through his story in my head. Then it hits me.
“No.” I hear myself say even though I don’t mean to. I feel the blood rush out of my face and my stomach ties itself in a knot so tight I’m sure I’m going to be sick. But I can’t. Not until I know what happened. Not until I hear someone else say it.
“Where’s my mother.” He doesn’t answer. “Tell me where she is!” Still not a word. “Tell me what happened to her!” I’m yelling now and I feel a sharp pain in my arm as the needle is ripped out. The machine that the bag of blue liquid is attached to starts beeping and a nurse appears almost immediately to replace the needle. But I won’t let her. I just keep screaming at the stupid man in the chair until finally he waves the nurse out and looks me straight in the eyes.
“Your mother is dead, Anadilyn.”

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Old 04-02-2012, 08:17 AM
Rominil (Offline)
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Very interesting! This piece has a great flow to it.

One small thing I think should be changed... "but it did leave a scar." I know you say that she has been in recovery for a few days, but I still don't think the wound would be completely healed yet. Maybe change this to "it will leave a scar."

The one thing I feel after reading it though, is that it seems generic. The two things that really struck me as "unique" were her name (I love it) and where her and her mother were practicing out in the field.

I would love to see you infuse some more uniqueness in this piece, add on to it in order to make it impossible to not continue. Right now my reaction is "well written, flows, but I've heard this before."

I don't have any suggestion as to how this should be done because I think you could lace pieces of information pertinent to the rest of the story within this opening - offering mystery that will cement the story to your audiences hands.

I really like it so far, and see a lot of potential.
/Rom
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rominil View Post
Very interesting! This piece has a great flow to it.

One small thing I think should be changed... "but it did leave a scar." I know you say that she has been in recovery for a few days, but I still don't think the wound would be completely healed yet. Maybe change this to "it will leave a scar."

The one thing I feel after reading it though, is that it seems generic. The two things that really struck me as "unique" were her name (I love it) and where her and her mother were practicing out in the field.

I would love to see you infuse some more uniqueness in this piece, add on to it in order to make it impossible to not continue. Right now my reaction is "well written, flows, but I've heard this before."

I don't have any suggestion as to how this should be done because I think you could lace pieces of information pertinent to the rest of the story within this opening - offering mystery that will cement the story to your audiences hands.

I really like it so far, and see a lot of potential.
/Rom
I definitely agree with you on my mess up with the scar. Not sure why I wrote that but thank you for catching it
And I will see what I can add to it to make it catch a bit more. I have already thought of a few things since I've been working my way through the rest of the book, but I'm trying really hard not to edit and write at the same time the way I usually do. I'm hoping that as I add to the story and understand more about whats going on myself I'll be able to add some little details that add a bit of mystery to the beginning.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:53 AM
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This was a very good prologue! It definitely made me interested in the story. Nice cliff-hanger ending.

The writing itself flows really well, so I can't find any problems with that. There would be only two things that I personally would change:

1. Opening with a dream is a little cliche. I think it would be more interesting and immediate if you began with the action--actually show Anadilyn being attacked by the rebels instead of just summarizing it in a dream. Then, you can maybe have her black out and transition into the other scene.

2. Give more description about the setting of your novel. You already have some good details that made me interested in the setting:
there is nothing but flat earth for miles in every direction
in the mouth of the Plains of Ikba, just outside Oridün territory
But I'd like to know more, even if it's just an extra sentence or two. Something that hints at the world the story takes place in (because I'm assuming it's not realistic fiction).

Other than that, very good job. I hope your book goes well!
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:56 AM
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Thank you for your thoughts
I can't actually have it starting with her getting attacked for reasons that I can't say without spoiling anything but maybe I can think of something a bit more catching than the dream state. Definitely something to think about when I get to revising.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:00 PM
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I really enjoyed reading this.

I think what threw me off at first though was her birth date... which would put the time during the middle ages, and then the language and medical attention didn't seem to match that time. That's when I realized this was taking place on another planet. So I guess a good blurb on the back of the book and it being genre specific would take care of that.

The only other thing I noticed that I thought could be improved was the brief mention of "practicing" something. I think if you added a little more detail or hint at what was being practiced it would help.

Other than that I really liked it!
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