Critique Request -Introductory Character Vignettes 594 WC

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  • #346441

    Anonymous

    Hey Everyone,

    These are the first two of four scenes to introduce the POV characters for my book. Not sure if this is ‘Chapter 1’ material or more Prologue fare. The goal is to give the reader a brief taste of each and draw them into wanting to get to know each person in more detail. For now, the names at the head of each section are for my organizational purposes, but could stick around a la Peter Brett.

    I look forward to your feedback!

    JOEL
    Agony.

    It consumed his world. Searing pain radiated from the cold steel shackles gripping his wrists down to his shoulders as he hung, arms stretched outward, between the walls of his cell. The muscles of his neck throbbed from the effort of holding his head up. The few muscles on his back that had not been shredded by the lash screamed from the effort of holding his legs and torso upright. A constant burning, punctuated by icy twinges, emanated from the soles of his feet as they shifted on the rough stone of the rounded support they clung to.

    In the unlit darkness of his cell, the prisoner could only picture the agony and utter defeat that his position displayed.

    Grime and dried blood caked nearly every patch of his bruised and broken skin. Only two narrow tear tracks snaking from his eyes and running down his cheeks appeared unsullied, hinting at a deeper hurt. Hurt caused by the last words spoken to him: “I don’t love you anymore.”

    Time had no meaning, drowned out as it was by the constancy of his pain and the deprivation of light. Perhaps the tormentors would come again, silently cutting, striking and wounding him as he fought the urge to cry for mercy. Maybe the executioner would finally release him, mercifully ending it all with a swift cut of the axe. None of it mattered. He was already dead, hollowed out by the loss of her love and everything else he held dear.

    NATHAN

    “Nathan! It’s time to go home!”

    Ignoring the tiny voice of his companion, Nathan peered around the corner of the building that sheltered him from view. His gaze swept across the wide cobbled space before him. He marked the position of the first guard that caught his eye.

    The guard stood on the high wall the overlooked the plaza. The deep blue of the lacquer on his breastplate identified him as a captain. A crossbow rested against his left shoulder, undoubtedly ready to take out the first unfortunate, insane, or just plain stupid person to set foot across the bright red line of stones that ran parallel to the wall blocking access to the pass north of the city.

    To the unobservant, the captain could have been a statue for how still he stood. Nathan knew better, catching the tiny movements as the soldier scanned the empty plaza. Several other sentries lined the wall and appeared to be less attentive. Surely they stood ready to converge on any that broke the line of the forbidden zone. Despite their inattention, each had a crossbow within easy reach and were, no doubt, expertly trained marksmen.

    If rumors were true, over three hundred men had died attempting to approach the wall over the last several years. Other whispers pegged the total at over 1,000 while some claimed just a meager handful of unfortunate souls had met their demise on the hard grey stones. All of the rumors agreed on one point: no one had ever actually touched the wall.

    The wall. Nathan felt its very presence: cold, impassive and imperious in its impregnability. It stood at least 50 feet high and appeared to be a single solid piece. Not a single outcropping or joint had ever been spotted. Just smooth grey stone stretched on an east-west line connecting to the mountains on either side of the pass completely walling off the Riftlands to the north. Even if someone survived the approach, scaling it appeared to be impossible.

    He would be the first to do it.

  • #654191

    Anonymous

    Except for that first passive sentence I liked it.

    Instead of
    It consumed his world. Searing pain radiated from the cold steel shackles gripping …..

    I would prefer something like
    The Searing pain consumed his world as it radiated from the cold steel shackles gripping …..

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