Wednesday, October 7, 2015

First Impressions - The Book of Lost Runes


Our third and final submission for this month's First Impressions is a Fantasy from Mason T. Matchak. You can find him here or by clicking his pic. And don't forget that Dianne Salerni and Krystalyn Drown are also critiquing this first page so do go visit to see what their thoughts were.

http://masontmatchak.blogspot.com/

 The Book of Lost Runes

The last man Shiloh ever wanted to see again stepped onto her airship.
Shiloh looked him over, wondered just how much ten years had changed him, and hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with him for long enough to find out.  “Lord Figaro,” she said, “welcome aboard, and thank you for choosing a Caldwell Company flight.”  The greeting was a habit, and helped Shiloh keep bitterness out of her voice.  She resisted the urge to check her schedule to make absolutely sure he was on it.
“Lord Edwin is fine,” he said, smiling at her, his teeth bright against his dark brown skin.  “Lord Figaro is my older brother.”
Of course, Shiloh recalled.  Edwin was the second son of the Brinmaar branch of House Figaro, and his elder brother must have taken over the merchant house’s business sometime in the past decade.  When last they met, Edwin wasn’t ‘Lord’ of anything.
“As you wish, Lord Edwin,” Shiloh said, forcing her voice into the practiced politeness she reserved for enduring difficult customers.  She did check her schedule then, tapping a few carved glass buttons on the runewoven bracer she wore on her left forearm.  The bracer was emblazoned with Caldwell Company’s red and gold logo, which clashed with the pale blue dress Shiloh wore, but there was little she could do about that.  After a moment, a few gleaming words appeared in the bracer’s largest crystal, confirming that Lord Figaro had indeed made a reservation for the evening.  There was no destination listed.
That wasn’t common, but Shiloh had dealt with wealthy folks who liked to think they were traveling incognito before.  She tucked a strand of her bangs back behind one ear; most of her wavy blonde hair was tied back in a simple ponytail that reached her waist, but she wore her bangs loose.  “Where do you wish to travel today, Lord?”
Lord Edwin glanced around the small airship as though it was his own.  He stood a bit over six feet tall, only a little taller than Shiloh herself, and wore a dark blue suit with beige trim, in what Shiloh figured must be the height of local fashion if he was wearing it.  His hair was tightly curled and trimmed close to his head, and she guessed he wore the neat mustache and goatee because he thought it made him look dashing, the same reason he wore a short, curved blade at one hip.
Sons of merchant families all seemed to have some of the same traits, no matter where they came from or how powerful their families were.  Or weren’t.  Shiloh frowned at another old memory, then waited by the airship’s wheel for Edwin’s reply.
 ***

My first thought is that I love the opening line. It's a bit cliche but I sense some romantic fun in both their futures, plus, airship, hello? That's enough to entice me to read on. I do, however, notice a few spots where things might be smoothed out. For example:
"Shiloh looked him over, wondered just (I know, I love this word, too) how much ten years had changed him, and hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with him for long enough to find out.  “Lord Figaro,” she said, “welcome aboard, and thank you for choosing a Caldwell Company flight.”  The greeting was a habit, and helped Shiloh keep bitterness out of her voice. (one space between sentences, not two and why is she bitter? Did something happen between her and Figaro?) She resisted the urge to check her schedule to make absolutely sure he was on it.
“Lord Edwin is fine,” he said, smiling at her, his teeth bright against his dark brown skin.  “Lord Figaro is my older brother.” The way this was worded confused me as to who's who. I would suggest that he explain her mistake, give his name, and then say that his brother is just fine, like this: "I'm afraid you've mistaken me for my brother. I'm Lord Edwin, and my brother is quite well, thank you."
“As you wish, Lord Edwin,” Shiloh said, forcing her voice into the practiced politeness she reserved for enduring difficult customers.  She did check her schedule then, tapping a few carved glass buttons on the runewoven (hmm, I want to know more about that) bracer she wore on her left forearm.  The bracer was emblazoned with Caldwell Company’s red and gold logo, which clashed with the pale blue dress Shiloh wore, but there was little she could do about that. (Is she really thinking about this now? Goes to character.) After a moment, a few gleaming words appeared in the bracer’s largest crystal, confirming that Lord Figaro had indeed made a reservation for the evening.  There was no destination listed.
That wasn’t common was unusual, (it's often better to put statements in positive form) but Shiloh had dealt with wealthy folks who liked to think they were traveling incognito before."

The only other thing I might consider changing/cutting is the description of clothing - unless fashion is an important aspect of the story. Otherwise, I think this an interesting beginning.  Readers, care to offer your thoughts?

A big thanks to Mason, Nathan, and Angelo for submitting their first pages this month.

 

12 comments:

  1. Good stuff, Mason!
    I like the way it opened as well. I was also confused at first by the name change and think your suggestion would remove that. And a little less description. But really like the way this story begins.

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    1. Thank you. ^_^ The comments here have helped me figure out what changes to make, though hearing "less description" is never easy. :P

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  2. I enjoyed the entire thing. Really. The only thing that pulled me out was when Shiloh messed with her bangs. The details felt forced. If They fell into her eyes and she was trying to clear them away, that would be smooth transition into the thought process--some kind of active reason to pay them attention.

    Got conflict. Got character. Got setting. Great start!

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    1. Thank you. ^_^ I was never happy with that description of Shiloh, but another comment on one of the other blogs has helped me figure it out, so editing will fix it. Glad you like the start of it, though.

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  3. Love that opening sentence.
    And the bitterness about him which shows through so strongly. I would certainly be reading more.

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    1. Thank you, good to hear. ^_^ I got a great suggestion to make the opening line even better, but it's good to know it still works as it is now.

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  4. I definitely like the opening sentence and paragraph. It gave me a feel for your MC and her current world. I was a little confused at how Lord Edwin introduced himself. I understand what you're getting at, but the way it's written kind of threw me. I do like how before he wasn't 'lord' of anything. #snort Other than that (and Marcy's comments), I'd read on. I'm intrigued.

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    1. Thank you, it's always great to see that people want to read more. And I'm definitely fixing the title issue, figured out a way to do that better and make it reveal more character for them both.

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  5. Thank you, Marcy. As I've said in the other First Impressions blogs, the name/title thing with Edwin is something I definitely need to fix, but I've figured that out, thanks to all the comments. I'll be making some changes to the descriptions of clothing, but some of it needs to stay, as it helps the reader learn things about Shiloh and Edwin both. Definitely fixing the issues with describing Shiloh's outfit, though. And the things you wondered about, the runes and the history between Edwin and Shiloh, are all revealed during the first chapter, but I'm glad that you want to know more. ^_^

    And yes, there is romance in the future, but it's not at all between Shiloh and Edwin. :P

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  6. I commented on Dianne's blog, but agree that the description of the clothing seems a little distracting, but maybe it's really important later. Other than that, I'd say it's a good start.

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    1. It's more important because of what it's meant to show about the character, in Edwin's case; I am going to move Shiloh's description and make it work elsewhere. And thanks. ^_^

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