Saturday, April 5, 2008

Writing Too Wordy

Wow, where did March go? I can't believe it has been over a month since I posted last. It was a crazy month. My birthday came and went, and I didn't meet my goal, and yet I still don't feel too bad about it. I continue to edit. I'm plugging away at it, but life gets in the way at times.

I did have something interesting happen. I sent my first chapter off to Ray Rhamey an author and editor. He does this thing on his blog called the "Flogometer". For those brave enough, he takes what he considers the first page of your novel (the first 16 lines) and critiques it. Ultimately he says whether he would turn the page or not, looking at how well it "hooks" the reader. He flogged me pretty well, and said he would not continue reading.

Sure there was a little disappointment, but honestly I am so grateful for him for taking the time to give me good solid feedback. Also several people posted comments giving feedback as well. The overall consensus was I was being a bit too wordy. Someone commented that I used too many "highfalutin" words. Looking back at it, I couldn't agree more. I have rewritten the first chapter, and in particular the first page or so, over and over again, and it shows. I really think later stuff, that is fresher is much less likely to be overwritten. You can see all their comments here.

So, even though I said I had rewritten the first chapter over and over, I did it again. Here is the revised first page. Please feel free to comment, and let me know if it still feels overwritten.


Chapter 1 - Birth

Burning oil and cooked meats masked the acrid smell of death. With a swollen tongue, he tasted thick dust on cracked lips. Rough stone dug into his back. He opened his eyes, and then flung hands up to shield his gaze. Dust billowed around nearly skeletal fingers, which glowed red against the painful light. Where am I?

The reek of death grew stronger. He struggled to move. His legs were stiff; his shoulders jammed between stone. He was in a cramped box. Sweat poured from his brow. He kicked his legs and grappled toward the light.

He strained against the edges of the box and pulled himself up, toward the ruddy glow. Grey dots danced across his vision and he nearly fainted. His head spun. At last, the room steadied.

He sat in a granite box on a raised platform at the end of a long narrow chamber. Stone sarcophagi lined both sides of the room. A chill prickled his skin. I have awakened in a tomb.

His mind raced, as fresh sweat rolled down his grimy forehead into his eyes. Nightmarish visions of faces filled his mind—faces surrounding him—large pale eyes watching, always watching. A need to get free of the coffin overpowered him.