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The Power Thief, Book 1 of the Kay Pow Saga

Discussion in 'Self-Promotion' started by Architect_of_Aurah, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Recently, I entered a competition with my writing group to write the first three pages of a novel you want to sell (doesn't matter if it doesn't wrap up at the end). I didn't win, but read what I wrote below and tell me whether of not you think the judges were unfair!

    Prologue

    The stars; every life-form, planet and celestial body’s fate is tied to them. Ultimately, they are the agents of our destiny. So few consider this in the course of their lives, and yet the dull and ignorant are as much a part of the great celestial ballet as the philosophers and astronomers who contemplate their place within it.
    (Does that sound grandiose to you, or just predictable? I don’t want to sound like I’m churning out something hackneyed simply to draw you in. Oh OK, I’ll just get on with it.)
    Nowhere in this universe or any other does a world’s history owe more to the stars than the world of Aurah. Outwardly it is little different from our own world; blue and green with ice caps at the poles, white clouds girdling the atmosphere and a single, barren moon.
    However, in the night sky of this world is a large, bright star, with a peculiar greenish hue. This is Theta Proxima, the Forest Star, 200 light years away from the Aurah system. Every so often its surface flares, sending bursts of radiation winging towards Aurah. And when the flares reach Aurah, life on its surface changes in the most extraordinary way…
    (Shall I go on and explain how? Nah, you’re right. No point wasting a chance to develop the plot. Just read on and find out for yourselves.)

    Chapter 1

    The fifty-storey Buckson Building was an apartment block overlooking the eastern end of Midgreen Park. Across the park, the Grevy Building and the great central column of Exchange Towers thrust high above the rooftops of Havenburg, tallest and grandest city on Aurah. Its night time skyline was a view that could have the city council lobbying to change what distance a mile is, just so it could be called mile-high.
    On floor 42 of the Buckson Building, a couple took advantage of their children being asleep by catching up with their favourite TV show. Little did they know that in a shadowy alcove outside their window, Havenburg’s most diligent protector was taking a rest.
    Kay Pow was her name, and she was dressed in a black dojo robe with voluminous sleeves and leggings. Her head was concealed in a black cowl that covered all but her ears and eyes. A dark pink belt sat round her waist, holding the equipment she needed to fight crime.
    As she waited, Kay caught some of what was coming from the nearby flat.
    “It’s baddie-busting and crook-catching all the way tonight on… Supers!”
    She heard a clang as the title exploded on screen, then the oh-so-familiar theme song.
    “Crims and super-crims, think I better warn ya,
    Supers gonna getcha just as sure as you’re born.”
    Kay sighed to herself. Got to see if there’s a way to get myself on that show, she thought. Then the one who does all the work will get the credit.
    A scuffle far below in a side street interrupted her contemplations. Kay whipped out her field glasses and studied the scene. It was time for action.
    Putting the glasses back in her belt, she mentally calculated distances and angles, crouched low and leapt into the air. Her apparently suicidal fall was checked as gliding wings sprang up between her legs and arms. A rudder snapped open at the tip of her tail, allowing her to manoeuvre herself towards where the fight was taking place.
    Too bad I was born a red squirrel rather than a flying squirrel, she thought. Still, either way, I don’t mind heights.

    Meanwhile, half a mile away, the staff of the Havenburg Gem Exchange cowered in the corner of their office as a masked raccoon covered them with a shotgun. His three followers had shouldered their own guns and were working industriously, opening the strongboxes set into the wall and emptying their contents into the sacks they carried.
    “One minute!” the leader bawled at the others. “No, you klutzes, leave the diamonds! Get the coloured stones, that’s where the real moolah is.”
    One raccoon dutifully started unlocking the top row of strongboxes with the keys he had forced off the secretary. This did not go unnoticed by the young rabbit herself.
    “Mr Fisher, they know where the coloured gems are,” she whispered to her manager.
    “I know, Melanie,” muttered the old otter. “They must have inside information.”
    “Shut it!” screamed the leader, waving his gun at them. “Thirty seconds! ‘Cmon, hurry, you lame-brains! They’re gonna find out that guard’s dead any moment.”
    “Oh, ah don’t think y’need worry ‘bout the guards,” a deep voice drawled from the door of the office, “’S much as me.”
    The four thieves spun round and saw a sight that made them wish they had been florists instead, or at least packed spare underwear. Leaning against the doorframe with arms folded, was a chestnut horse with a yellow mane, so tall and broad he looked like he would cause an eclipse if he went out in daylight. He wore a broad-brimmed hat, a brown eye-mask and baggy trousers. His tasselled buckskin waistcoat hung open, showing off a torso that would have doubled nicely as a cheese-grater.
    “I-it’s Showdown!” stammered one of the gang.
    “Blast him, blast him!” the leader yelled desperately.
    The thieves raised their weapons to fire, but the horse merely straightened up and threw four punches in the space of a heartbeat. The air shuddered and the thieves stared in dismay as the shotguns exploded in their hands like firecrackers.

    So what happens next? Just wait and see!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Sorry, I don't think that the judges were unfair.

    There's a lot of passivity and inappropriate telling. Even though I like superhero stories, this didn't engage me.

    Keep at it. Writing engaging pieces takes a lot of learning, and there are some glimmers of promise here.

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
  3. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I have to agree with BWFoster.

    Worth noting: BWFoster and I honestly disagree on quite a bit when it comes to writing. That we agree on this should tell you something.
     
    BWFoster78 likes this.
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I was really put off by the prologue. It didn't whet my appetite for further reading. It presented information in a pretentious way, taking itself too seriously (not to mention the distracting second person bits in there). I'm not a prologue-hater, like many modern readers, but I believe a prologue ought to be a sort of appetizer, the thing that really makes you want to jump right into the deep end of the story. But the authoritative tone just begged me as a reader to put it down.

    Into chapter one, the flat descriptions kept coming, one after the next, details about things I don't have an emotional investment in yet because I'm only beginning to read. I know how tricky it is to hook reader in a few paragraphs, but forcing statistical descriptions on them is certainly not the best way. The details didn't do the work they needed to, to get the point across and the voice of the piece grated on me in a very short amount of time. I can't think of a single successful novel that uses a haughty voice. Sure, as a character, bringing the reader into the fold of a deep POV, but not as the narrator. In fact, the narrator voice was so overbearing in this short segment, I didn't get any sort of feel for what the story was about. A prime example would be where Kay is described. All narrator, no character.


    I'm not attempting to discourage you in any way, but if you're confused as to why judges didn't respond positively to this entry, I hope I could shed some light. My advice would be to carefully select a narrator voice that doesn't cause a jarring dynamic with the material presented.
     
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