HH Com 190

Recently promoted to sergeant in a mercenary company, Fritz has very little leadership experience. But when a shipwreck leaves him in an unknownland with two soldiers, Gerhard and Yakob, he must take command for the three of them to stay alive. Leading these two
proves quite a challenge; Gerhard lacks discipline, while Yakob has a habit of talking to a woman that
only he can see.

The three soldiers find themselves in an empire on the brink of civil war. A group of sorcerers who act as secret police hold the empire together, keeping the world under the surveillance of stones that sprout eyes. When Gerhard displays a strange ability to disbelieve magic out of existence, Fritz and his men find they have blundered into a war without knowing
which side is wrong, which side is right, or most importantly, which side offers them the best chance of living to spend their pay.

Fritz lands on a desert island, suddenly in charge of Gerhard and Yakob. They've landed in a empire on the brink of civil war. The empire is controlled by sorcerers and the team suddenly finds Gerhadr can... what?? "disbelieve magic out of existence"??

I can polish it right till then cause after that doesn't make sense. It sounds like a two year old who hides under her blankie thinking if she can't see Grandmother Snark, Grandmother Snark can't see her either.

Then of course, you've got the by now famous kick line of Nameless Faceless and Boring, the Evil Triplets.

Focus. Start again.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but when the setting is anything other than contemporary real world, I want to know that right away. The first paragraph had me framing one set of expectations. Then halfway through the second, I find out it's a fantasy, and everything turns topsy-turvy.

Virginia Miss said...

Some of this intrigued me, such as "under the surveillance of stones that sprout eyes."

Unlike Miss Snark, I can accept "disbelieve magic out of existence." It sounds nifty, and serves as a motive to turn the sorcerers into enemies.

However, you need to start your hook with that, then give us more of a sense of what conflict and choices ensue.

Anonymous said...

Xanth has a character who can null magic; at first he doesn't believe in magic, so it sounds like a similar situation. Not sure how it would work in this context, though, since Xanth puts its own spin on everything.

Anonymous said...

"Fritz and his men find they have blundered into a war without knowing
which side is wrong, which side is right, or most importantly, which side offers them the best chance of living to spend their pay."

That's what I find hook-y here. It puts an interesting spin on their dilemma: it's not merely "right vs. wrong," but idealistic vs. pragmatic. Who cares that the good guys are "good," when they're the ones who're trying to kill you?

Rei said...

Unlike Miss Snark, I actually like the ability to disbelieve magic. And the "stones sprouting eyes" notion is an interesting twist on the cliche of "the bad guy has spies everywhere, even in nature."

I'm no agent, so my opinion isn't worth much, but I'd read on. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with first anon that the "switch" to fantasy setting (given that the usual default is the real world unless otherwise stated) is jarring. However, I also find jarring those hooks that begin, "In [weird place name] the [weird name for some kind of creature] do [something] to/with/for [weird character name]. All those new names for things right at the front tend to make me laugh. So I don't have a solution, just my opinions...

Anonymous said...

(Adding to the post I just posted:)
By the way, I'm not criticizing the character names in this piece or any other names in this piece (I actually quite like these names and don't find them jarring at all). I'm pointing to the usual way of clarifying that we're in a fantasy world right off the bat, which usually involves a country name or race name or city name or planet name that is sufficiently weird to make that clear. Which does the job, but also sounds silly (to me).

Mad Scientist Matt said...

Looks like a few of you got what it was Gerhard was doing - he strongly disbelieves in magic, and that causes anything magical around him to fail - which, as it turns out, perplexes some of the characters in the story even more than it puzzled Miss Snark.

But if the hook doesn't get that across to Miss Snark, I've probably done a bad job of stating it.

Thanks to Miss Snark for taking a look at it and giving an honest opinion. The evil in this one definitely does have a name and a face, so I will make sure they get a higher billing in live queries.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I would definately read this. I loved the concept of 'disbelieving magic out of existance'. I also liked the fact that the characters weren't ridiculously noble and selfless, and were less concerned about which side was in the right as getting out of there alive, yet they still appeared likeable. I love fantast, but so much of it is the same story redone. This seemed to be fresh and interesting to me.