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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marabella - Discovering Magics (part 2)

This is the second installment of the prologue to MARABELLA - DISCOVERING MAGICS, along with my critique. Read the first part here. To sum up, Geremiah has just given his young son a gift to hold on to and keep safe, they're on a ferry, and there's a storm brewing...

 Anton guided the boys to Broxton, an elderly tailor from the village.  He looked again to the north shore.  The ferry was creeping along at a snail’s pace.  The wind seemed to (either it did bear down or it didn’t – I’m guilty of this one, too…) bear down, pulling and grasping at the boxy craft.  The current pounded the creaking wood and the blackening sky looked as if it might open up at any moment with a deluge.  Geremiah and another man were already tossing bags of seed into the now raging river.  “Better my seed-corn than my family” grunted the farmer glancing back at his worried wife and two young daughters. He had to shout over the roar of the ever increasing gale. The huddled passengers were mostly silent except for murmurs of concern and a few fitful children.  They all tried to ignore the chilly water washing over their feet when the waves broke over the sides.  Now near the middle of the river, the current beat the ferry and it shook more violently as it inched along. (This is good, too, lots of active verbs like pounded, roar, broke, beat, shook.)
Anton helped Geremiah as he strained against a large beer barrel.  (Don't forget to get rid of these extra spaces between sentences.) A stonemason by trade, Anton was tall and lean with corded muscular arms. His seemingly thin frame hid great strength.   Putting their backs against it, the two shoved the huge barrel overboard.  The rain began coming down in fat frigid drops but they continued, throwing barrels of whiskey and flour.  The storm gained momentum. The wind howled like an angry beast attacking its prey.  The gray waters pummeled the ferry.  The terrified passengers clung to one another and clutched their belongings as if to protect them from the river's icy grasp.
            Suddenly, the ropes propelling the ferry along groaned against the pull of the chilly waters and snapped, taking one of the ferrymen with them into the swirling current. His body was sucked under the turbulent waters before he could cry out.  The ferry bobbed dangerously and began to spin downriver. Women and children began to scream as water poured over the side.  The timbers holding the rope mechanism splintered and ripped free, falling into the water dragging with it, the farmer and his entire family. His yellow-haired daughters were both entangled in the thick ropes still clutching their new straw hats with pink ribbons.  Amid the chaos, Geremiah pried the lid off of a small flour barrel with his hunting knife and quickly dumped its’ contents.  A knowing look passed between the two friends. (Excellent - great compelling description of this unfolding disaster with more active verbs. Nice!)

Readers, your thoughts? 
Tomorrow I will have the third and final installment of this prologue, along with my final comments. 


Patchi said...

I loved how gripping the descriptions were. Marcy mentioned to take out the "seemed" in the beginning, and I'd add to take out "began to" from these sentences:

>>The ferry bobbed dangerously and *began to* spin downriver. Women and children *began to* scream as water poured over the side.

Also, this sentence sounded confusing to me. I think there is a word missing.

>>The timbers holding the rope mechanism splintered and ripped free, falling into the water [and? while?] dragging with it, the farmer and his entire family.

Can't wait to read the rest tomorrow.

Liz A. said...

Yikes. I only noticed a couple minor things:

"The timbers holding the rope mechanism splintered and ripped free, falling into the water dragging with it, the farmer and his entire family."

That second comma shouldn't be there. I don't think.

But very gripping.

Huntress said...

Rather than '…the women and children began to scream…" I'd put "The children screamed as water poured over the side." Short sentences add drama.