Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A New Work Begins...

I'm still working on those screenshots of HG:L to show you. I'm likely going to have to resize them, as even though they're just 3MB JPEGs Blogger doesn't seem to want to post them. But that's not why I'm posting.

I've been tinkering a lot with a new story idea, one that has similarities to the old manuscript I've been posting bits of in that they're both fantasy, and both deal with a young boy. This one's premise though, seems more solid... less iffy, if that is at all possible in a work of fantasy. It's more modernly set, and strays from typical conventions of the genre. I'm hoping to forge on with this as I rework the more traditional piece, and I was hoping a few of my readers wouldn't mind imparting their thoughts on this short 750 word Prologue.

It's fresh, as in I just hammered it out from an outline I wrote moments ago. So have at it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The jet black cat played with its catch for a while after it stopped wriggling, as those of feline nature often do. It took delight in the hunt, the chase across the yard and in to bushes, and so too it took delight in the chipmunk’s final moments. This is not something to be taken aback by; it is just the nature of a beast and its prey. The cat was proud, and happy, as it should have been after such hard work. Once the little thing was caput, the cat aimed to share its success with its loving housekeepers. Not as food mind you, but to at least show them how diligent it had been in ridding their yard of such a pest.

Chipmunk grasped firmly in its jaw, the cat sauntered like an aged lion to where a boy sat playing cheerfully in the grass, toys strewn about him haphazardly. He was barely old enough to walk, with bright green eyes and curling orange locks lit up his face. The cat, though it owed more to the boy’s parents, took a certain liking to the littlest of the family. It knew the boy would find the kill satisfactory. The child was playing with some dandelions he had plucked from the lawn when the cat ceremoniously dropped the body of the chipmunk in his lap. The feline sat tall in the grass before the toddler, slowly wagging its tail as its friend examined the prize.

Dandelions still clutched tightly in his right hand, the boy picked up the dead creature in his left hand. He was not frightened as one might think a small child would be of such a thing. Rather, he was quite enthralled by the tiny brown-haired thing which he held. The boy’s mother was on the deck of their house, not ten feet from where he played. He knew that she would likely disapprove of their pet’s present to him, so he shifted to keep his back from her.

The child stared carefully at the chipmunk. His eyes traced the claw marks along its body, from tail clear to the base of the neck. He was not scared, but he still disliked seeing the animal dead in his hand. He much preferred to see animals like his cat, alive and happy. He focused hard on the numerous cuts and bite marks on the little rodent. Still holding the dandelions in his hand, he laid his index finger on largest of gashes and closed his eyes. Meanwhile the cat looked on. It saw the yellow petals in the boy’s hand begin to wilt and turn white. It saw the grass beneath the boy turn yellow and dry all around them. It watched as the cuts along the chipmunk’s body closed and the blood that stained its fur disappeared. The cat’s eyes grew wide, even for a cat, as the chest of its one dead prey began to rise with breath once more.

The chipmunk, just as shocked as its former killer, bounded out of the boy’s hand and onto a toy truck nearby. The boy opened his eyes and smiled at the tiny creature as it looked up at him. The rodent looked to the cat, whose eyes were still fixed firmly on the child, and then with a dart it was off across the lawn and back to its hole nestled safely under a bush. The seeds of the now dead dandelions blew away, and the boy watched as they were carried off by the wind.

“Colin! It’s time to go inside. Come on to mommy,” the boy’s mother beckoned from the porch, oblivious to what had just happened. Colin picked up what toys he could manage and slowly worked his unsure steps towards his loving parent.

The cat sat still, staring at the boy as he plodded up the few stairs of the wooden deck to the house. The mother called for it too, “Come on, Luna. Don’t want to lock you out.” She shook a bag of dry cat food, and Luna wondered if she realized how demeaning that was to her, what with her meal having just been taken away from her by a babe. It would be until supper was fed before the feline saw in her reflection a gray streak along the bridge of her nose that had not been there before. She would not be pleased. Colin was however, and he watched through the sliding glass door of his house, as across his back yard a chipmunk sat alive and happy, when just moments before it was dead and without feeling. It made him cheerful to know that he had done that. What a shame it is we seldom remember things from such a young age.

4 comments:

Solf said...

I like it.

*vlad* said...

Interesting story.
I found it quite hard to read in parts:

"It would be until supper was fed before the feline saw in her reflection a gray streak along the bridge of her nose that had not been there before"

Anyway, I don't want to be your one and only critic, so I'm going to let others post in future before I do.

Aaron Miller said...

I like the foreshadowing at the end... like the boy will forget his power and have to rediscover it later. Humanizing the cat is interesting, too (though I have to admit, I was hoping the cat would go right back to hunting and killing the chipmunk when it was revived). And I didn't expect the boy's power, so it was a good surprise. Overall, the idea (meaning the story behind the words) is good and feels real.

Since it's a rough draft, the language could obviously use some work. Be careful and deliberate with your adjectives. For example, describing the cat as "jet" black (and even just black) has intuitive connations, like portraying the animal as fast/sleek ("jet") and mysterious/eerie ("black").

If you describe the toys the kid's playing with, that could illuminate some basic traits of his personality. My old writing instructor would say there needs to be more physical description, especially of the boy, but that's never been so important to me.

It might be good to outline what you can now, but go back and polish each chapter before writing the next. The polish might give you ideas for future story events, and it will certainly change what details need to be communicated to the reader as the story progresses.

Good luck.

Tipa said...

You have exactly one sentence -- your first sentence -- to convince a reader to read your first paragraph. And if that first paragraph hasn't pulled the reader in, well, they're gone.

"The jet black cat played with its catch for a while after it stopped wriggling, as those of feline nature often do."

That isn't a hook. You hook the reader with your first line.

"The cat adjusted the sight of the 'Hellbringer' MO-247 assault cannon with claws still red from the blood of the grunt bleeding to death on the cavern floor".

Hook the reader. Then give it a good tug to set it. Reel them in. And then you've caught them.