Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heroes... Chapter One - Malcolm

It's finally that time again. This is my rewrite of Chapter One (Malcolm). To those who have seen the original, it is somewhat similar in structure and plotline, but much has also been changed.

This chapter rewrite has given me grief like no other project has that I can remember, and I don't even know why. After about 10 days of working, and about 8 completely different rewrites, I went back on Saturday evening, quit trying so hard, and rewrote it in about 3 1/2 hours.

I realize that if it comes across as really bad, then I've set myself up for all sorts of easy jokes. I can handle that.

Feel free to read and enjoy. But, I ask if you can: please give me a bit of feedback. It can be as short as a couple of lines (or for the fellow Twits - as little as 140), or as long as you want. Leave it here if you want, send me a DM (please don't use an @ message), or send me an email. My address is on the page. Those of you who have already given me feedback on the prologue are welcome to do so again. But anyone who reads this may feel free to do so. That said, don't feel that you must.

I thank all of you.

*One note: each of the first four chapters focuses on one main character. You will not see Horse (from the prologue) in the chapters. Sorry to the Horse fans.


Chapter One - Malcolm

Dragonfish plowed through the green and white waves of the Sea of Men, launching salt spray into the whipping wind with every crash. She was a bit smaller than most traders, her hull smooth and round-bottomed. She was laden with trade goods from Geshuan and sat low in the water. At eight knots, she was pushing her top laden speed, a fact that could not be lost on the vessel pursuing her.

On the main deck, sailors assembled ballistae along the gunwales and marines issued heavy blades and crossbows to the men. On the poop deck above, half a dozen officers readied for what was to come next. Only one man watched the preparations below. Satisfied with the crew’s speed and demeanor, he nodded and glanced up at the ribbons dangling from the rigging. The telltales pointed toward the bow; they couldn’t ask for a better wind in which to run. He turned to face his fellow officers.

To continue:


  1. Ok, I have to leave a comment here, as I think I'm going to need more than 140 characters. ;)

    Nice action scene, here. Your spelling & punctuation is immaculate, as far as I could see.

    Only one sentence sounded a bit weird to me:

    "He hated doing this, but a corpse on deck was far more dangerous to those still living."

    It's meaning is clear, but it didn't have the same flow as the rest of the piece & pulled me out of the story for a brief moment.

    Overall, I think it's excellent & that you have emerged from 10 days & rewrites victorious.

    Hope this helps!

  2. I admit that after reading the first several paragraphs, I wish I had read the prologue first because I didn't feel like I had the solid sea legs to be thrust upon a ship without knowing why. My Fault.

    However, given my lack of sea and boating knowledge, you did a great job of describing the action and movement for those not in the know, like me. So for your readers that don't know what the terminology is about, we can figure it out pretty easily and it's not a distraction. I hope I'm making sense here~

    For me a good sign of whether I like or enjoy something when I'm previewing like I did with this, is whether I skim or read. I read. Another sign is whether I glance to the right at the scroll bar to see if I'm almost to the bottom and done. I didn't.

    And lastly, when I get to the end, whether I feel relief or not. I didn't feel relief, I was pissed. Pissed is good for you, bad for me because that means I wanted to read more and feel jaded.

    I'm not sure this little blurb of thought helps or not. But those are my initial impressions.

  3. I have to disagree with Rasmenia about that line. To me it was fine. However there was for me a hiccup in the flow. It was where you explained that the Sea of Men had another name once. That part should be in the opening paragraphs, not in the middle of a battle. Also there were a couple of instances when Malcom should have been identified as the speaker, or thinker instead of just 'he said', 'he thought' because there were other characters involved.
    I do agree with Rebecca. I'm pissed too! Stellar job overall.

  4. Somehow (and I'm not sure how) you made this chapter flow much better. The battle moves quicker, and I like the magic use and description much better. I think it's a good basis for what we'll see later in the book.

  5. Tom is right, the flow is better and I like the exchanges between Malcolm and the rest of the crew. You seem to have abbreviated the magic just a tad from my copy but I like it just a little less flashy. I had small problem with "It was a fine a shot as he had ever seen." perhaps you meant "It was AS fine a shot as he had ever seen."? That's just me being picky.

    C'mon now, you gotta give us a little bit of villain. Show'em the darker side baby, you know you wanna.

  6. I found the repeated "she" in the opening paragraph a bit irritating. Maybe just a little more attention to sentance structure. A few other sentances struck me as a bit clumsy, might need to be shortened/lengthened, change wording. Pay attention to your rhythm-at points it feels very staccato, maybe a bit more variation. Overall there's a nice build from longer clauses to the shorter sent. of the action scene. I noticed a pause in the middle of it though-this is fine as it brings the focus back to Malcolm, and really makes it about HIM in the midst of the battle at this point. Just be careful it's not moving too far away from your action.

    I like the suggestion to move the sea name to the beginning. My problem was that you have a lot of very technical language, and a pretty good creation of setting, but it feels very rooted in the "real." I didn't read the prologue, so I'm not sure if that tips the reader off to the fact that there is a magical element...but as the first chapter stands right now, the magic comes in very abruptly. There really isn't anything in the first half to suggest any air of mystery/fantasy to come, which is where the introduction of the Sidhe/naming could come in handy.

    Don't mean to be overly nit-picky...overall I think you are doing a great job of creating setting, building excitement, the action scene. Good luck!