My comments are in red. Saranna's are in purple. Of course, Saranna is free to accept or ignore anything I say. The point is to get us all thinking about the writing process and how to tell our stories better.
One word titles are powerful and this one is certainly evocative. The problem is that this might be confused for an inspirational title.
Chapter 1- The Eternal Knight
Great. Don't we all love immortals of any kind?
Screams of terror shattered the sweet haven of darkness and thrust Krestien de Godfrey back to a time when the Maltese cross had been a banner of pride he’d worn on his chest instead of the scarred brand on his back. The cool seduction of the night became hot and unbearable, just like the noonday sun set adrift on fiery oceans of sand.
Wow, Saranna! What a different voice for you. After your How to lose an Angel in 10 Days, I expected snarky humor. This is a huge departure, but it demonstrates your scope as a writer. You're able to adjust your voice to suit the type of story. Kudos.
Thanks! I’ve written four books since September and they were all snarky. I had to have some angst or I was going to go nuts and this story has been gnawing at me for some time.
4 since September! (Bowing in awe) Incredible output and so necessary in this market. Good job!
Now for the pickiness. I'm a little confused about what's happening here. "Thrust back to a time" suggests he's time traveling. "Noonday sun set" is another string of words that stops me. I know you didn't mean it that way, but it made me pause. Unless we're on a different planet, a noon sun set isn't possible.
Remember the Prime Directive of Writing: Be Clear. Show us exactly what's going on and where we are without ambiguity. Later on, I figured out this is an urban fantasy, but in the beginning, we could be anywhere, anytime.
You are so right. I knew there was something awkward there, but I didn’t know what. There’s a lot of that in this first chapter—paragraphs where I feel something is off, but I can’t put my finger on it.
His skin prickled and Krestien burned with the memory of blisters rising on his smooth, tanned flesh. The weight of his phantom armor made his limbs heavy and that screaming rang in his ears—a benediction for the dead.
He was no hero, but a man haunted.
Oh how we love tortured heroes. Phantom armor is inventive. Equating screaming with a benediciton is anther fresh twist. You've laid enough hooks to keep me reading.
Krestien turned down the alley and saw the victim had fought valiantly. The body of one man lay stiff, his once living flesh cooled on the wet street and his blood mixed with oil slicks and standing rain water.
Rigor mortis starts around 3 hours after someone is dead. Has that body been there that long?
Uh, no. And I knew that. *laughs*
Another man was holding his thigh— a steady stream of blood dripped around the ancient blade that was buried in his flesh to the hilt. Krestien could see from the markings on the handle the blade was ceremonial in nature—Mayan to be exact. If the victim’s attacker dared to pull it out, he’d tear the muscle along with the blade.
Mayan? My interest is definitely perked.
Let's do some tightening. How about getting rid of was? Another man held his thigh is more active than using a was and -ing verb. Cut that was. A steady stream of blood dripped around the ancient blade buried in his flesh to the hilt is less cluttered. Drop to in the last sentence. It's not needed--dared pull it out reads fine, but there's a logic problem with the last bit. He'd tear the muscle makes sense, but along with the blade seems to suggest the blade would be torn.
It was a woman who held the victim up against the crumbling wall of the abandoned warehouse. She was dressed in tactical gear, nothing of which could identify her, but it was the tattoo visible in the pale light of the moon that marked her for what she was. A chalice flanked on each side by a griffin was tattooed on her bicep.
Again, let's tighten. A women held the victim is a less cluttered way to begin that sentence. Drop the first of, it was, and that from the 2nd sentence and see how you like it. She was dressed in tactical gear, nothing which could identify her, but the tattoo visible in the pale light of the moon marked her for what she was.
“This doesn’t concern you, Templar,” the woman said without turning around.
Good way to have someone else identify your hero. We had the hint of the Maltese Cross, but this confirms his affiliation.
“Why don’t we let the lady decide, Covenite?” Krestian’s lips twisted into a wry smile. He wouldn’t hesitate to cut her down if she moved against the woman pinned to the wall. Evil didn’t differentiate by what was between her thighs, so neither would he.
Whoa! What lady? We had a man bleeding with the Mayan blade. Where did he go? This lady has popped up out of nowhere.
Will fix! She’s the victim. I guess it looks like the Mayan blade guy is the victim.
I like the term Covenite. I've never run across it before. Is that original with you? It conveys an unholy bent that makes her a good foil for your Templar.It is. The Templars in this story arc serve the Grail and the Covenites serve the Ark of the Covenant.
The last sentence will scan better if you substitute based on for by what.
“And they say chivalry is dead.” ;-) The woman pushed a glock against her quarry’s forehead.
“What do you say, Samara? Is chivalry dead? Does this concern him?” she sneered.
Samara smiled and kneed the woman between her thighs and ducked. She pushed the glock aside, but the Covenite still got a shot off and the bullet went through Samara’s chest, just above and a breath to the left of her heart.
Ok, the victim isn't so helpless. I think we've discovered our heroine!
I don't often recommend an adverb, but when someone smiles when there's nothing to smile about, I'd like to know more. Did she smile disarmingly? Grimly? Let us know.
Just is one of those words editors love to hate. It's usually unnecessary. Cut whenever possible.
Krestien grabbed the Covenite from behind and slammed her against the wall. The woman fought well without her modern weapon. She used her knees, her elbows, her teeth and her nails. Krestien was immune to her battle charms, her blows like nothing but that of a child. When he had the woman at his mercy, he positioned his hands to snap her neck. It was (change to would be since he hasn't done it yet) quick and merciful, more so (Cut so. Another just type word) than any Covenite deserved.
“Just” and “that” are my Kryptonite.
“Please don’t hurt her,” the dark haired Samara cried before fainting as the (Cut the) blood spurted from between her fingers.
Oh, yeah, she's the heroine. Gotta love that forgiving attitude. Reminiscent of Christ forgiving His tormentors from the cross. Hence your title?
Thanks for letting me take a look at this new WIP. You've got lots of inventive elements and have created a world where conflict already lives. I see great promise here.
Thanks for having me again (I am a glutton for punishment!) and for all of your great advice.
About the Author:
Saranna DeWylde is a full time Amazon Goddess and former corrections officer who decided she’d seen enough shanks and skanks. Originally a horror writer, having written her first story at her 8th birthday party in colored pencil after watching The Exorcist, she further decided her dark quill was meant for Happily Ever After instead of the things that grab your feet if they hang off the end of the bed.
Now it's your turn! What suggestions or encouragements do you have for Saranna?