Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Experiment in Good Fortune Goes Well

That went very well. Just a few days ago, I asked for feedback here for the a rewritten prologue of Heroes... I also took the prologue to my writer's group (North County Writers of Speculative Fiction) and asked for feedback from my followers on Twitter.

I received feedback and beta-reads from all corners. It went well; actually, it went very well. I'm not talking about my writing, either. I'm referring to how quickly and how thoroughly you readers came through. I thank all of you. I ended up receiving feedback from my group, from old friends here on this site, from several new Twitter friends, from a few perfect strangers from Twitter, and from my girl. As an experiment in and of itself, this was amazing. As practical help, it was brilliant.

I also want everyone to know that everyone who offered me feedback actually brought something to my attention. There were no exceptions. Even one particularly...thorough critique shined a light on something that neither I, nor anyone else, had ever noticed. I made the suggested edits, and was delighted with the changes.

For completions' sake, and so everyone can see how much they've helped, I'm going to post the newest version. Feel free to check it out. Add a comment if you wish. I'm already working on the next two chapters, so I'm probably not going to go back and look at the prologue again for some time. I feel confident in what is there now. I feel fortunate in the assistance I was given to get there.

Prologue - Darkness

Jorski Thurnam – known as “Horse” to his friends, and Watchman Thurnam to the rest of the city – stood in the middle of the intersection, and looked up the Street of Nets to where every oil lamp along one block had been extinguished. He cocked his head just a bit and focused on the mystery in front of him. For several hundred feet, the lamps on both sides of the street were burning. Beyond that, they were dark. He took a long draw on the pipe in his mouth, before tucking the briar into his belt. He glanced around. It was fairly quiet, as it often was in this part of town, this time of night. He unwound the strap that tied his truncheon to his belt. Weapon in hand, he started up the street toward the smear of darkness. He quickly left the large warehouses behind and moved into a neighborhood of small shops and rowhouses. He slowed as he came to Gundrin Way, the first cross-street, and heard the clatter of hooves on cobbles. One of the city’s black-painted broughams raced by, nearly cutting him off. Had he not been distracted, he would have banged on the side of it with his truncheon as it passed. It was moving much too quickly.

After it passed, he broke into a jog. He hurried to the end of the block, passing a beggar sitting beneath a lit lamp and a pair of young toughs posing as hard men. He ignored them, as he ignored the hound that darted into the street, barking at him. Jorski slowed to a puffing halt as he reached the end of the block and the beginning of the darkness. He caught his breath as he crossed the intersection and approached the fringe of shadows. This area was patrolled by the lamplighter known as Tall Wennel, never one to shirk his duties.

"Wennel?” Jorski did not yell. At night, voices carried.

Ahead of him, the entire block was dark; every lamp for two hundred feet had been extinguished. The storefronts of the darkened block melted into one vast wall, black on black. Jorski clenched his jaw.

“Tall Wennel?” he called again.

No answer. He stepped into the shadows and rapped his truncheon against the first unlit lamppost. The hollow clang echoed louder than he intended. He rapped again, lower. The sound was muffled; the reservoir in the pole contained oil and the lamp should be burning. He took a step forward and heard a crunch under his boot. Hundreds of tiny fragments of glass sparkled on the cobblestones. He looked back up and focused his gaze on the lamp itself. All four panes of glass had been shattered in their frame, as if something had struck it from four directions at once.

The rest of the prologue is at:


  1. Smoother, better.


  2. The flow just gets better, I just wonder when this cake is gonna be done cooking. Oh, and since nobody has made any requests yet, I want Craymore dammit! That is all.

  3. Thank you, gentlemen!

    Colin, your advice on almost-this and nearly-that was invaluable. Much obliged!

    Bryan, for now this cake is done. I'm going to move on and work on the rest of it. I'll go back again and again, but I'm not going to get bogged down on the prologue anymore.

    I've rewritten Chapter 1 (Malcolm) once and am working on Chapter 2 (Dunbar) now.

  4. That's the writing and flow I've come to expect from the dark fantasy guru who's my brother-from-another-mother! Home run!

  5. Yowzer, I would definitely buy the book that this prologue was attached to! :-)

    Well done, Nickolas.