HH Com 296 (295 was a duplicate)

The most startling thing about a gronom is its face--or more precisely, the absence of one.

Two young kirins were rushing through a sunlit forest, scrambling over tree roots, dodging pine cones and toadstools, rabbits and field mice eyeing them curiously as they passed by.

"Look where we're heading!" said Gilin. "Straight for home. We can't go there!"

Coming to a stop, they looked back and saw no trace of the dreaded gronom, yet knew it was tracking them in its unrelenting fashion.

Grasping Talli's hand, Gilin looked into her green eyes. "We can never return to the clan. You realize that."

A slight tremor shook the earth.

"It's coming!" said Talli, turning quickly, her hair a shimmer of gold in the sunlight.

Now they could see the creature, still distant, striding methodically toward them. The same height as a kirin, it had two long arms, two sturdy legs, and a white hairless body. It resembled no other living thing.

"No face," murmured Talli. "Blank. No way to know what it's thinking--if it can think."

"One thing is certain," said Gilin. "It will never stop following us."

The youths turned to each other and the dark-eyed Gilin spoke. "We must separate. Olamin said it's better for the knowledge to survive in one memory than none. Reydel's gone. We're the only ones left."

Trembling, Talli looked down and touched his right foot with hers in the time-honored kirin gesture of joy, sorrow, greeting, and parting.

This isn't a hook.
It's a first page.
It's cute and all but Miss Snark eats cute for breakfast.


Anonymous said...

I'm picturing the big red hairy monster from Bugs Bunny that runs around in tennis shoes and he tries to give a haircut to. Is this really where you want to start your book?

Virginia Miss said...

Although these young beings are being chased by a dreaded being, somehow this passage fail to evoke menace. Maybe it's the friendly bunnies, sunlight, green eyes, and golden hair.

Anonymous said...

You should check out the Turkey City Lexicon (http://www.sfwa.org/writing/turkeycity.html) for 'As You Know Bob' - characters telling each other stuff they already know in order to convey it to the reader. The dialogue doesn't flow naturally here: they're announcing things rather than talking to each other.

Think how they'd actually feel if they were being chased by a horrible faceless creature, when their pals are all apparently dead. They'd be terrified, and grief-stricken, and exhausted. You need less exposition and more emotion.

Inkwolf said...

Well, I don't know what a gronom is, but I know a kirin is a sort of Japanese unicorn who has something to do with chiising an/or identifying future rulers.

I know it's a typical anime/manga device that the kirin appears in human form, as in The Twelve Kingdoms, but I've always suspected that was more because the animators found it sexier to draw them as hot bishounen than animals.

But I think that if I was reading a novel about Kirin, I'd find it more interesting to see them pictured in their traditional form than in pseudo-human guise.

That may be just me, though.

dancinghorse said...

The first line has potential.

The lack of menace isn't just from cute, it's from the prose. Too many flabby verb constructions, especially all those -ing words, and dialogue that substitutes for exposition or action. Also, "the youths"--use their names or their species.

If you tighten up your writing, go for shorter sentences and more active verbs, and study what dialogue is and how it works, this will work a lot better. Keep on practicing, and keep on studying your craft. There's a nicely twisted imagination in there, once your writing catches up with it.

Anonymous said...

Err, and don't look at the dangling participle in my comment....
anonymous #1

(crap, I hate when I do that)