Thanks for taking the time to read my first 250. Love to hear ways to make it stronger.
Sometimes I think my life is ordered by a system I can’t see or touch or change. Even before we reach the outskirts of Gripp, we’ve fallen into a predictable line. Da and Natayla go first, then me, then my cousin Rowan. There’s something comforting about our procession, like an unspoken spell for our safety. I can’t help but wonder though what would happen if I broke the spell.
But I don’t. I keep my place, eyes fixed on the soiled hem of Da’s cloak. We’re here to work, not to dream and sight-see. We need to earn enough to feed those we left behind at the caravan. Anyway, this town is no different than the rest. What view could I possibly be missing?
My fragile resolve is shattered moments later by the tempting smell of baked bread and the sound of raised voices. I glance into a bakery with empty shelves. The last loaf squats on the counter. The baker looms over it, arms crossed, while two red-faced women argue. One of them will return home empty-handed. The baker catches sight of me through the window, scowls.
I drop my eyes and hurry on.
The other faces I see in my periphery are gaunt, pinched with fear. Fear of starving perhaps, of their livestock—or children—being taken by nightflyers, of the Sword’s centauris commandeering their homes. My heart sinks. We’re begging from the beggared. It’s hardly worth the risking coming so close to the capitol.
Post by junipernichols on Feb 27, 2017 14:06:43 GMT -5
The first line is very relatable - haven't we all felt like that? The only thing I would consider here is whether you want your first line to have a fantasy flavor or not. At the moment it could be from a contemporary. You fit so much world building into this first page, though, that it might not be necessary to rework that. Right now, I get a slowly building awareness of what kind of environment this is, after first getting a taste of the protagonist's inner conflict.
I like that the essential cast is mentioned right away, and the idea of spells. I'm not sure how literally the character (she??) believes in spells and breaking them.
You could delete "But I don't" because the next sentence makes that clear.
Mentioning the caravan shows that these people are wanderers. At first I thought maybe they could be entertainers coming to "work" although upon examining that thought, it didn't seem as likely. My second thought was that they were an itinerant folk like Roma. However, after reading the full submission it seems likely they left home looking for food, refugees probably. "Begging from the beggared" clinches it. There is massive famine, or war, or environmental disruption. Certainly a timely topic.
I'm not sure about the line "my fragile resolve." It didn't seem fragile before that. The character seemed almost entranced. The smell and arguing would be enough to snare anyone's attention. Also, I'm getting the sense that there is more despair than resolve at work here.
I'm wondering why the baker is waiting for the two women to argue over the loaf. Apparently it's not first-come first-serve?
The sentence that begins "Fear of starving perhaps" feels a little awkward. Part of it read to me like fear of their livestock. I know what you mean now, but the hyphens broke up the thought enough that it didn't seem connected to the nightflyers. Also, I have a feeling this character has seen enough of the world to know exactly what people are afraid of, so the "perhaps" seems disingenuous.
I love how I know a fair bit about the world, the external problems, and a taste of internal conflict about feeling trapped. The only thing I am missing here is - who the heck is the protagonist? :-) Maybe one of the other characters can address them, and/or give them some body awareness instead of only noticing external things and thoughts.