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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Guardians

Yay! A first page for you and me! I know, you're probably not there, off celebrating the holiday or whatever. But if perhaps you are there and care to check out this first page from Liz, I hope you'll offer your opinion...and Have a Happy Christmas if you're celebrating. I'll be back on Thursday with my crit of this this first page.

The Citadel’s towering gray stone walls loomed over the crowd streaming inside.(I liked Liza's suggestion about this first line.) These walls had been designed to keep people out, and yet crowds still came whenever the Guardians deigned to hold a Blik. Never mind that the Guardians held a Blik once a week.What's a blik?
The man behind me bumped into me when I stopped.(I wonder if this sentence could be re-worded so there's one less 'me') He forced his way into the stream of people who wound around me. I took a deep breath and continued to move with the crowd.
I had sworn I would never enter these walls again.(Ooh, why? Inquiring minds want to know...) As I passed through the massive front gate, I focused on the reason I had to break that vow. The crowd pushed me along until we made the vast meeting chamber. Then I resisted the pull towards the center of the room. I needed a place near the back, near the doors.
I pulled out my com. I reread the message from Troy: “Please come. I need you.” I traced my fingers over the words which only highlighted the text, so I shut the thing off and stuffed it back into my pocket.
The last time we spoke, we’d argued. I yelled. I called him a coward. He called me a traitor. It had been two long years since I’d seen him, but I’d come when he called. My brother was the only family I had left.This is good, short and succinct.
“Are you okay? Do you need something?” the man seated next to me asked.
“I’m fine,” I said.
“They can be a little disconcerting the first time you see them,” the man continued.
“I’ve seen Guardians before,” I said. Now I want to know what a Guardian is...
I prepared for the next inane comment from my neighbor, but then I heard a whirring off in the distance. The entire hall went silent. The sound got louder and louder. Every person faced the front of the hall. Liza had a good suggestion here, too, imo.
The meeting chamber held a few hundred people, but the stage area looked too large for the room. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that someone had forgotten to set up folding chairs on that shiny black floor. That stage held nothing, but we all watched it anyway.
Then the side panel along that stage opened, revealing a gap that could admit giants.  The only sound came from the motors propelling the Guardians forward. I heard a couple gasps.
A line of large, oddly-shaped, metallic things rolled in. They had the semblance of human form, but with all the humanity smoothed out. The base of the creatures, which stood taller than a tall man, was cone-shaped with the pointy end on top. Balancing on top of the cone perched a nearly spherical object that could have been called a head, but its only feature was a pair of large, black, circular eyes that took up a good third of the object.
Each Guardian was exactly the same shape and size. The only difference between each individual was how the outside of the contraption was decorated. Some were brightly colored.  Some were heavily patterned. All looked like they were trying too hard to look friendly.

This is a good first page. You've set up a number of questions and mysteries which will propel readers forward AND given an interesting glimpse into this strange world. I would definitely read on to find out more about these Guardians, what a blik is, and what caused the separation of the siblings? Initially I assumed they were both male but now I realize our narrator could be female. Interesting.


Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

This is something I would read. I was heavily involved from the first sentence.

One suggestion. Established authors like Stephen King use metaphors to bring a phrase to life. My poor example: "The walls, like a gray beast growing from the ground ready to pounce."

Find a way to include them.

Excellent use of backstory. "...we'd argued. I yelled...He called me a traitor..."

Liza said...

I'm curious to know what a Blik is. Watch extra descriptive language. Example, instead of your first sentence, try something like this: "The Citadel's stone walls loomed over the crowd." That's all you need to show they are tall and firm.

Remove lines like "he heard" that distances your reader from the action. Instead use something like, "A whirring sound cut the crowd noise." Doing so also removes an "I." There are a lot of those in here.

You have raised the your reader's curiosity, with Bliks, the brother's request for help and Guardians. Intriguing.