Post by Heidi Kneale (Her Grace) on May 16, 2017 3:15:37 GMT -5
First 252 words:
Adrastea descended into the dark. As her feet touched the cellar's stone floor, the strong scent of brandy enveloped her. It smelled of peaches and hot summer days and possibly forbidden kisses.
Up in the stillroom Ari Healer peered out of the daylight. "Was it my barrel? Please tell me it wasn't my barrel." She gripped the top of the ladder and sniffled. No doubt this would add a few more gray hairs to her dark head.
"I don't know." Adrastea squinted. Was it the new brandy or the barrel? She drew a breath and coughed. The alcohol stung her lungs. She couldn't bring a lantern down and risk igniting the fumes.
Eyes were useless here. There was another way--the Lines that connected everything.
When up in the world, out in the light, she could barely tell they were there, just gossamer webs out of the corner of her eye. Down here in the cellar they came to her much stronger. She relaxed and focused inward. Lines from dried herbs and potions she'd prepared lit up and connected to her. There was the lavender she'd harvested a month ago. Next to that, the rosemary, waiting to be pounded into powder.
Lines reached out into the farthest corners of the cellar. "Ari?" Adrastea called out.
The ladder under Ari's worried hands rattled. "What?" It came out as a wail. Her anxiety strengthened a Line, thickening it to stand out from the rest.
"Oh," Adrastea breathed as it grew brighter to her senses.
Overall, I like this. The imagery is lovely, and you did a great job setting up the fantasy elements. Just a couple of comments. 1. The purpose of using beats with dialogue is to establish the identity of the speaker. That's also the purpose of dialogue tags. There is almost never a reason to combine them. There's also no reason to use tags before and after the dialogue. It slows the pace of the conversation, and it's distracting. Cutting some of the excess tags will let you get deeper into the action. 2. Watch out for unnecessary words like "just" or "possibly." Seeing them on the first page makes me wonder about the rest of the MS. 3. A person cannot breathe a sentence, so the tag in the last line is incorrect. You don't want to end your entry on a typo.
I like this. The opening is intriguing and the way you weaved in the fantasy elements, without providing backstory or too much narrative worldbuilding is nice. I agree with Laura on the dialogue tags, other than that I would like to read more of this story. Great job!