Snarklings versus the Snarkometer, Round 39
Scottish Highlands, 1618
A crisp breeze blew between the mountains and over the deathly silent battlefield. The sharp scents of bruised grass and coppery blood blended. Gwyneth Carswell put down her herb basket, crouched by a patch of brambles and peered out at the motionless, tartan-clad bodies--a dozen or more--lying scattered about in the dusky gloaming. Blood darkened their shirts and doublets and seeped into the grass.
You've never been on a battlefield have you? How do I know? Cause you'll never smell grass. You'll smell blood, and shit and piss. Blood doesn't seep after someone is dead either. It pools in the lowest part of the body.
And she's just merrily picking her way around dead bodies? Miss Snark would be throwing up. Even in a romance novel.
A chill shivered through Gwyneth and nausea churned in her stomach. The men of the McIrwin clan, her distant cousins, lived and died only for a skirmish. She'd been in the Highlands long enough to expect brutality and violence at every turn, but her sheltered upbringing in England had molded her into the person she was--a lover of peace. Thank God her son had stayed in the cottage with Mora.
oh good, you do have her throwing up...sorta. And if she had a sheltered upbringing, she'd have a VERY violent reaction to all this carnage.
So much senseless death. For what?
After glancing about to make sure she was alone, Gwyneth ventured onto the battlefield and examined the bodies of her distant cousins. Some suffered ghastly wounds to the head or slit throats that had killed them instantly. Though she hadn't been particularly close to most of them, sadness and horror sickened her upon seeing their mutilated bodies.
"After" removes us from the immediacy of the narrative. "glancing about to make sure" keeps us with her, and thus involved.
And what's she doing out here anyway? If she's nauseated by the carnage, she's got to have a reason to be here. She can't just be here cause you need her here to get the story going.
A haunting groan floated on the breeze. She froze. A cold finger of fear trailed down her spine. The pain-filled groan sounded again, straight ahead. One of the men was alive. With skirts hiked, she rushed forward, picking her way among the dead, until she reached the far edge of the clearing.
The light was fading fast, but she saw well enough to know she didn't recognize the injured man, a large warrior with long dark hair, from the enemy clan..
haunting groan? yikes.
cold finger of fear? double yikes
rushed forward/picking her way among the dead....impossible to do at the same time.
He's alive, groaning and she notices his hair first?
You're writing in an intensely competitive category. You're going to have to be fresh, and inventive and smart to keep an agent reading. So far, this won't qualify.