Tuesday, February 3, 2009

For Better or For Worse

I'll admit I havn't been writing much lately. Shame on me, I know. As it stands:

-I'm updating AUC to a draft 3
-3 complete copies of draft 2 are floating amongst friends and family reviewers
-I'm at a stalemate with Snatch (book B, my NaNo project) I need a swift kick in the toosh with that one
-My muse continues to visit me with ideas, which I write down
-I have started my first horror short story
-I'm plotting out OTS (book C)
-I've spent hours of enjoyable time reading (Jim Butcher and Rachel Vincent recently)
-Chapter 1 of AUC went up on Critique Circle this week and based on the critiques I recieved, I've updated it. Most notably the first 250 words have changed a lot. So I've decided to post up both the draft 2 version and draft 3 for your comparison. I'd love to hear your thoughts on if its improved as much as I think it has or if it still needs a lot of work.

Draft 2

School was the peace in my life.
Once inside the schoolyard each morning, I was able to relax. In here, there were limits to how bad kids could be. Teachers wouldn’t think twice about sending someone home for misbehaving and all of us, no matter how tough, would rather be in here than out there.
Sadly, we were just three short days away from autumn break and the end of my second to last semester here. I wished I wasn’t so close to turning fifteen. I wasn’t ready to graduate. I reveled in all the blissful moments of calm I could get.
But as I left Crossroads Fundamental School each afternoon, I felt like a target walking.
I hurried from the very heart of the city up the gentle slope toward my home in the upper east quarter. My heart fluttered nervously whenever anyone walked too near.
Rose Creek Bridge. I was halfway there.
A man sat in the middle of the bridge, playing a lively tune on a strange amber flute. He seemed completely unafraid, steadily meeting the eyes of each person that passed him. His boldness was unheard of in these present times. It made me wary.
I slowed down, not sure I really wanted to cross within arm’s reach of the man. He didn’t look scary, I reasoned. Unsettled as I was by his confidence, I stepped forward, muscles tightened, ready to run at any moment.
As soon as my foot touched the bridge, everything changed.

Draft 3

“See you tomorrow, Paige!”
I ducked my head and waved to my classmate shyly, berating myself for lack of backbone. Then I neared the school’s iron gates and more important matters required my attention.
School was the peace in my life. Within these fences, I reveled in a blissful calm that only came from enforced limits. Our instructors dealt with rabble-rousers by sending them home. And all of us, no matter how tough, would rather be in here than out there.
I hurried from Crossroads Fundamental School up the gentle slope. The fire pit was near my home, deep within the upper east quarter. My heart fluttered off-beat whenever anyone passed by too close. In the open streets, I felt very much like a walking target.
Halfway there, a man sat in my path on Rose Creek Bridge. He was playing a lively tune on an amber flute. I slowed my pace as he steadily met my gaze. I really didn’t want to cross within arm’s reach of the strange man. His boldness was unheard of in these fearful times and his music seemed to belong to some other, happier, place.
He didn’t look scary, I reasoned. And there was no safe place for me to go if I turned back. Unsettled as I was by his confidence, I smoothed the skirts of my school uniform and stepped forward, prepared to run at any moment.
As soon as my foot touched the stonework of the bridge, everything changed.

So let's have it... is it for better... or for worse? Does it hook you? I'd love to hear your feedback.

Anette

2 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

I like the beginning better on the 3rd draft, but the last half seemed too choppy. I like her smoothing out her clothes, though. Definitely keep that.

I'm also not sure I'm following why things are so dangerous and why she doesn't have a backbone. Will that information be coming later?

Why does the man not look scary? Maybe describe him a little more?

All in all, though, I like this beginning. I'm hooked. Really want to know what happens after she steps on that bridge!

Anette J Kres said...

yeah the danger and the backbone (shyness) both come in more later in the chapter and then again later in the book.

You're right, I should give some idea as to what the guy looks like.

thanks for the thoughts glam!