Monday, February 13, 2012

Hook, Line & Sinker Blogfest

Hello all blogfest-ers. Today is the day to post your 500-1000 word hook of any work in progress. If there's any last minute stragglers who sign up the day of, no worries: I'll close the list at the end of the day and you're piece will be considered.

Below is your list of participants. Please pop by your fellow blogfest-er's blogs and comment on their hooks. Be constructive.

Thanks and enjoy the day!

Peace and Writing Love,

JWP



I went over the 1000 word mark, but I figured I would end the scene as it stands in my manuscript. Enjoy!

* * *

People these days seem to favor the expression, “Born in a world long since destroyed.” It’s bullshit, most of them blowhards who complain about being normal. The majority of them are Humes who only know day trades. The others are the hybrids that have come to the Motherplane. You see, I’ve been taught one thing about my superiors. That said, I’m still young, so I suppose my opinion wouldn’t much qualify to someone arguing with me.

However, I do know how to defend my own kind if it comes to it. We’re a strong number, the mages of the Affinity, but therein is the source of the Humes’ expression. They think we’re too powerful who be given the type of reverence we see. They think we expect too much adoration for keeping Elyserian running properly. The truth is they don’t know half as much as I would care, but then they’re only granted to know what they can’t use to disassemble us. They’re not permitted to know the secrets of what would happen to the planes if we weren’t around. It’d make them piss their pants, every one of them. Even some mages try not to think about it. So, we go about the days, learning and trading ideas with the Humes who choose to get close to us. Despite all rumors, we wouldn’t mind being liked.

Here in Agress, there’s plenty of rumors to go around. It’s a city born to be a kingdom, but we see no ruler here. Politicians and law makers run things, with the consideration and even advisement of the Affinity at times. The mages occupy a good third of the city. I suppose Humes get the expression from the sudden appearance of a wall erected in the dead of night around the Affinity’s district. Sure, we hide a lot from them, but it’s for their own good. Our Bonders, while scrutinized by the doubtful, never budge from their seats of power. They can’t afford to let it get to them.

I hear the brunt of it sometimes. My father is the Bonder paired with Erishore, the Elf plane. While I don’t see him often, I think too much is expected of him specifically. I’m told I’m not allowed to think like that though, considering I could become his replacement one day. Perfect. His tower is some leagues south of the Agress border, where on a clear evening among the marble white stars, even the doubtful Humes can marvel at the spectacle of the interplaner tether. It is that which we serve, both the object and what it represents—the cosmic energy of a multiverse whose depth we cannot begin to imagine, and the blackness of which our god emerged suddenly and gave us life. They’re part of the stars now, providing that energy to the Bonders.

Those Humes I’ve befriended ask me, “Valence, what is the tether made of?” I’ll explain to them just that, which then produces an expression somewhat of a grimace combined with a hint of astonishment. They don’t think that type of energy can hold all the planes around us together, but they cannot disapprove. It. Remember, they only know what they’re told. So, they know they’re the gateways to the planes, portal systems that allow free travel between all the planes. In exchange for this, Elyserian is asylum of the many races the gods accept as their own children.

“Valence,” my mother called.

She knows where to find me. I find my hands locked behind my head, legs kicked out and propped on a sullenly empty barrel of ale. It wasn’t my doing, but I won’t say I didn’t contribute. A breeze touched my skin. I rolled down my sleeves, concealing my mage marks. I glanced back at the house.

My mother was leaning in the doorframe, arms folded and my same charming smile on her face. I have mage marks on my eyes, too, and I like to pretend she can’t see me. Although it’d take a bush and nightfall to pull off. Not so lucky. She glances at the hoe resting against the window sill and takes another look at me. My charming smile didn’t work this time around.

“Only if you had a real woman who that would work on,” she said, coming toward me with the tool in hand. “You’ll make one lucky girl fall for you real hard with that.”

“Who says I want just one girl?”

Mother’s eyes came to a jocular point, a threat I seldom witness, but always respected. I never knew when a backhand would come my way for a wrongly placed wise remark. It was clearly a joke, but I guess my wit was empty like this barrel. I apologized.

“I see you got to the field,” she said, handing me the hoe.

Her wit, however, was spot on. I dusted my pants and stood.

“You should hire a Hume when I’m gone,” I said. “They love mundane day trades.”

“I have a feeling you won’t be gone for good.”

Knowing it true, I nodded. I took the hoe and turned back to the field. I took only a step before she called me back.

“You will get to this, but only after you return from a meeting with your father. He’s requested you.”

“He’s at the tower, though.”

“A good observation. He’s always there, but he’s request you nonetheless. I’d make haste.”

“Apprentices don’t go to the tower, Mother.” I don’t know why I was making excuses.

“You’re obviously the exception.”

I loved hearing that sometimes. “You’re serious? He’s asked me to come to the tower.”

“Almost as serious as me expecting you to bring him home tonight for supper. Do you know what day it is?”

I gave a second attempt with the smile, but my mother patted my cheek, her finger curling under my chin with my failure. I then remembered, shouting as if I hadn’t forgotten at all,”Yes, your birthday!”

“So we understand each other? You’ll go to the tower. You’ll go to his chamber even. You’ll speak with him and then you’ll bring him home.”

“You think he’s remembered? This ascending class is the largest the Affinity’s seen in years: a whole six Apprentices becoming Acolytes.” I almost regretted making that joke when she sighed.

“His priorities as a Bonder are foremost always. Even I know that.” I felt like she could have gone into a complex history of their relationship and how it bloomed at crumbled at times solely because he was a Bonder, but I knew my mother better than that. She was expressive, but simple. “However,” she continued, “in his thirty-two years of service to the Affinity, he’s never forgotten my birthday. Even I find that astonishing.”

“I’ll make sure to mention that.” I places the hoe in the crook of the chair’s backrest, and childishly frog hopped over the ale barrel.

“I expect an explanation for that barrel, too, Valence,” she called as I walked off.

I glanced back, and said, “Happy birthday, Mother. By the way, you’re radiant today.” She quickly found a rock and hurled it my way. I ducked. It sunk into the untended dry soil. That was exactly her kind of parting gift.

10 comments:

  1. It's an interesting start. There's definitely an intriguing world here. I'm wondering if perhaps the character voice is quite right, though, because it felt like a much older voice than was apparently intended.

    I'm also wondering about your use of terms like mages and elf, which always tend to me to suggest generic fantasy rather than something unique. With the mages in particular, it feels like you're showing us enough of what they do that it's clear what they are, so you can probably do without the word itself.

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  2. I'm going to have to disagree with Stu just a bit on one point and agree onn another. I like the use of ordinary fantasy terms such as mage because this world is so odd it helped to ground me and let me be comfortable enough to quit reading. The begining does seem a bit at odds with the last half. I struggled to get through the start (even though there were a lot of cool concepts). I think I was overloaded with odd info all at once. That I wasn't sure what the main character was. I honestly thought he was a robot until we met his mother. The narrative at the begining does seem like an older person talking. However, when I got to the dialogue I was immediately sucked into the story. Your dialogue is awesome! I think the world and the story are great too. I wonder if maybe weaving the last and first half somehow? Then the voice would match in that we could see this deeper, older sounding, side to the character at contrast with his mother-son interplay which I think would add a roundness to the character. Awesome job!

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    1. Comfortable enough NOT to quit reading, I mean.

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  3. Ah, back in bed with V. Nice to see him again. As always, love your writing. I do, however, feel like the first few paragraphs are heavy with information, maybe a little front loaded with stuff you can sprinkle in and bump your dialogue up a little closer to your first page.

    The voice feels a little adult at first, and mellows to a nice 17y/o rang in the dialogue, but you did age him down for this MS from his last role. So I'll keep a look out for that when criting the MS :)

    Thanks for hosting the fest, JW!

    -J-

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  4. The beginning is a bit overwhelming, and I am quite stupid. So if I picked up a book that started like that, I would probably think something along the lines of "crap, this author is going to expect me to remember all of this" and I would be done.

    I also agree the voice sounded a bit adult at first, but the thing is, I dont mind it as much, cause I see V as a kid with alot of responsibility that makes him seem older/more wise.

    I love your opening first lines, but there is one thing I would change...and its minor. I would put a period after Its bullshit. Makes it a bit more punchy.

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  5. Justin--you won day three of the "I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest" You can check out my blog or Cassie's blog for more info :)

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  6. So much information in the first five paragraphs it's dizzying! I wonder if the world might be better served by explaining certain concepts as they come up, rather than providing us with such an opinion-filled perspective as Valance's right off the bat. The section that starts with his mother calling him is the stronger, more hooky part, and I'd recommend you lead with that, and either intermingle the first expository section with the more dialogue-filled section, or simply switch them. He can exposit on his way to the tower. In any case, I'm interested to read more! And thanks for hosting this blogfest!

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  7. I think the opening is a bit clunky both in information given and in presentation... meaning that the prose is a bit stiff. I can only speak for myself, but I fond myself having to re-read several times to get a feel of what was going on and still don't really think I understand fully.

    I'd take another look at the opening paragraphs and see if there is a way ot simplify it a hair.

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  8. Yeah, I think that you've got an interesting world to explore here, but there was quite a lot of exposition in terms of the narrator telling us things, instead of actually showing us how his world worked as things were happening. (Which is something that I'm struggling with in a book that I'm repeating.)

    I have to admit, I'm very curious about the hoe and what it has to do with the MC and girls. :)

    Thanks for starting this blogfest for us!

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  9. I'm not a huge fan of 1st person present tense, it can be hard for me to stay engaged. I would ask why not 1st person past tense?

    I did like the MC and would like to hear more from him. He seems like there is a big personality there.

    I got a little lost with the terms or words used for places and things in the characters world. I would like to see a bit more definition, even if small, around them.

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate!

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"Little by Little, One Goes Far." -- J.R.R Tolkien.

I believe this as a philosophy, from a man who saw war and setback, and conquered all to bring us the greatest fantasy series that has ever been published. Leave your little comment and I'll get back to you.