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Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Today I am pleased to bring you the first part of Rachel Cooper’s Scifi novel, WE OF THE UNIVERSE. As always, my comments will be in purple…

(I am curious about the pronouncement of this name. I want to say it like this: Leg-eh-vee.)
Legeve awoke and rolled over into a hunched position, her feet touching the floor. The A cold gust of air from the vents dissipated as it had fulfilled its role, though the goose pimples on her naked skin did not. (<<this is an awkward sentence. How about something like this: A cold gust of air from the vents dissipated, raising goose pimples on her naked skin.) She ran her hands up and down her arms, bidding the cold away while slowly lights began flickering  flickered (passive vs active) up and down the walls, showing that the station was awake. (new paragraph here, I think>>) Her room was a tiny metal box, her bed a metal slab cut into the wall. This  It was like a womb. It had tended to her and kept her safe better than any physical, weak form could have. Beyond the room were dangers and here they could not penetrate. It was a perfect safe haven for her body while her mind was guided and lived outside the bonds of physical reality. Okay, now right here I want to know lots more about her mind being guided and living outside the bonds of physical reality. I’m torn between wanting a bit of explanation while savoring the anticipation of knowing more. What do you guys think? Wicked cool idea btw.

She got to her feet and walked over to a steel table in the centre of the room, its only ornamentation. In the centre of the table was a deep groove slowly filling up with liquid; to the right of the groove was a cup, ready to be filled to the brim and drunk from. Legeve felt her hand shake as she reached for it, a quivering feeling in her belly. Today was not just any day of virtual simulation and guided activity. Today was the day she would dance the Dance of the Suns, and become a true woman of the universe. Hmm, I’m already curious as to what this will entail…

Taking the cup, she dipped it into the liquid, gulping it down because the taste could never be (how does she know this? Can she visit the future? Or do you mean ‘because the taste was never pleasant,’ ?) pleasant. The room she was in seemed to fracture; once it had reformed, she was in a completely different place all together. It was wide and open, despite the many girls that lined up waiting to step through the gateway. There was soft carpet beneath her feet; instead of flickering lights, there was a steady warm glow. Try to make some of these sentences more active. For example you could say: “The room fractured, and once it had reformed, she was in a completely different place all together.” Love that idea, btw. I get a great picture in my mind.  

Legeve took her place behind a girl she recognised from a group simulation. “Emona,” she said, tapping her gently on the arm. The girl turned, not friendly and yet patient.

 “This feels so strange.” (I think you're going to need to be clear here who is speaking.) I think I'm afraid she realised. This was not routine, it was something different, something and she had not been trained for the unexpected.
“Oh, first timer are you?” The girl nodded in understanding before Legeve had time to reply. “You have been instructed haven't you? Can't offer any better advice than what is offered by the superiors.” 
I've separated out the dialogue the way I think it should be, but it may have been formatted wrong - no fault of the author. I might lose a few dialogue tags.

Emona turned around, feeling her obligation was at an end, telling Legeve nothing that she had not been instructed in already. The tear in reality that was the doorway was unnerving. (What tear? I might mention this sooner, along with her reaction. It could elicit sympathy for Legeve earlier.) It looked like a gaping wound cut into the very fabric of the room, and yet girls marched through without a glance backward, the very ideal of duty. They may have the same look as her, the same white blond hair and build, but inside she seemed to have many feelings and emotions that they did not. She lacked (lacked or had not yet participated in?) this duty, and had been guided in many lessons to bring her back into line. She repeated the mantra in her head, A single star, going on its own path brings chaos. Only unity brings the strength of the universe..

 This is a pretty cool beginning. I'm definitely interested in this character and her strange life and this duty (WHAT IS IT!!!). I want to know more about her past (It sounds empty - except for the living outside the bonds of reality) and her future, which obviously involves this duty. There's a great mystery here along with a sympathetic character (where are the people who love her?). I think this chapter just needs a little tweaking to be kick-ass.

What do you guys think? Agree or disagree? Do tell.


dolorah said...

It did hook me; but I agree it needs some tightening. There's a lot of "telling" which makes the flow mechanical. Given that Legeve is not normally "in" her body, the mechanical feel could be intentional.

I'd also suggest clarifying if she is in the room in mind only, or if she is about to travel in her actual body. If she is in her body for the first time in a while, it would justify her hands and legs shaking.

With some tightening and rewording, this would be an excellent beginning. Just enough info hook me on the character, the setting, and the impending move to a new location.

Yes, the implication of "duty" is highly intriguing. I want to know more, so would read on to discover it.

Thanks for sharing your first page Rachel.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the critique and you comments Donna. It's nice to get some outside feedback on it.


Huntress said...

Interesting concept. The name Legeve made me think of Legolas from Lord of the Rings,LOL.

Too many descriptive phrase in the beginning can blur together. At least until I bond with the MC.
Here you've struck a good balance between world building and Too Much Information.
Good job.

Brooke R. Busse said...

I understood what was happening, but I feel like a few things would be rearranged. The last paragraph has a lot of description all at once. I think it might be better if it were spread out a little bit. For example, you could move the description of the "tear in reality" up to where you first mentioned the gateway. I feel like this would work better because "tear in reality" interrupts the flow right after the sentence about Emona.

I'm curious about what she's doing and I like the scene you have set. Wonder why all the girls look the same, especially that way.

Also, how does she know to get in line if it's such a strange, unexpected thing?