Here are the first 2 pages to my upcoming book The Exalted. I’d like your help with a read and a review!

Hi everyone.

I would really like your input on the first few pages of the book The Vault that I am writing.

I previously posted my poetry prelude to introduce the book in the poem The Vault of the Exalted

Please feel free to leave your comments below and if you would to give me a fuller review please email me at writingsofamrs@outlook.com.

I look forward to your feedback.  I’d really like to know if it is engaging, does it hold your interest and make you want to read more.

I will wear my thick skin so say what you need to say!

Thank you for taking the time to read and for continually supporting me throughout my writing journey.

Jennifer

The Vault

Chapter One – The Summoning

“Let me in, please, you need to hide her, PLEASE!” Pleaded the lady.

He was trying to stop her, to keep her back and out of the house, she was pushing her way into the mudroom.  He stared at me, his brown hair disheveled, green eyes piercing me, questioning me.  He was always looking to me for answers.

I stood there in my kitchen, newly renovated, all creams and moldings, granite and stainless steel. This room had been such a big part of my life.  Occupying so much of my time, flipping through magazines for inspiration. I wanted the kitchen to feel ‘warm and welcoming’. But not this welcoming. Now I wanted out of it.

The room was silent. The floor felt hot, like warm honey sticking my bare feet to the wood.  I felt consumed by the honey creeping up through my body muffling my ears making my blinks slowed, my breathing thick.

Standing there, my freckled arms hanging at my side, my hair still wet from the shower, a bead of water dripped off the end of a curl, I could almost feel it bounce up as the drop fell to the ground, hitting the floor with a thud.

The room was still and quiet, slowed.

He had her by the arm she was pulling and yelling.

“PLEASE she needs to be somewhere safe.  It’s almost time!”

The woman was in her early 20’s.  She had long rusty colored hair full of waves and lengths.  Pale faced, tired looking, very tired.  I couldn’t help but notice her earrings, they dangled from gold hooks the earrings appeared to be plastic checker pieces, halved and orange with little holes at the bottom.  In the holes hung yarn knitted in a type of cable stitch with wood beads. They reminded me of an old 70’s stitched lamp.  Why would anyone want to wear such a thing?  She seemed oddly out of place.

They swayed back and forth as she thrashed and pulled against him.

“Let go of ME!” she yelled.

The sun shone in through the window clashing with the light flowing from the space between his eyes, it twinkled in the light. It was a reminder of what he was. Would I ever get used to this, to him?  The revelations of the past week had changed everything, everything I’d ever known to be truth, my entire reality had changed, not only my feelings for him.

“Amy!!” his voice pulled me out of the sticky honey and back into the moment.

“Hide who?” I mustered.

That’s when I noticed her, a young girl around ten, standing in the doorway.  Eye’s the brightest of blues.  She looked unsure like a deer caught in the headlights of a car.  Her hair was a dirty blond, pulled up high into a disheveled bun.  She wore a tartan kilt, royal blue and yellow, with a sleeveless velvet vest worn over a white blouse. The vest was colored with a silver braid and buttons down the front. She was wearing matching tartan hose.  The feet in the tights were worn and dirty, with a few of her toes poking out, one looking swollen and bloody.

The woman pushed her hair out of her face with the back of her hand.  Looking at him spitefully she stammered “We were 4 kilometers outside of town when we heard the emergency broadcast.  My sister sent me a text.  You can still text you know even though you can’t call.  Maya was waiting to get picked up for the Highland show but no one showed up.  They said if anything like this happened they would come and retrieve her but no one showed up!! There are no cars on the roads.  So we ran into town.  You were the first house to answer the door.  Please, she needs to be some where safe when it happens!”

The highland games were being held this weekend. The community and surrounding towns were bustling with people.  The games attracted many people from across the country. It was a national event that brought a lot of dignitaries, this year even the Prime Minister himself would be in attendance.

“Please let her stay here.  I need to find her parents. No one will look for her here.” She pleaded.

“Keep her safe, you said keep her safe, from what?  Do you know more than what they are telling us?”

He was still holding onto her firmly “Let go!!” She yelled pushing him over.  He stumbled backwards, tripping over the dog’s leash on the floor.  Her earring fell out of her ear and landed on his chest.  He lay there stunned, the place between his eyes illuminating the room.

The woman grabbed the girl and opened the door to the laundry room. She tried to flick on the light but it didn’t work since the power was out.  It had been for hours.  His illuminating drained everything around us, the power was out for blocks.

She sat Maya down, hard, in the corner on the floor.

“Stay here and don’t move. Do not leave the room, even if you feel like you must. Please Maya do you understand me? Do not leave this room!  I will get your parents and be right back.  Don’t move!!”

The girl just stared blankly, blinking.

The woman turned to me “Don’t touch her, leave her there. I will be back soon with her family.”

Stepping over him she bolted out the door, her hair and yarn knitted poncho flapping behind her.

I looked up at the clock it was 7 minutes to 8:00.  I rushed over to my Mac Book flipped it open only to receive a low battery warning.

Texting would still work the mysterious woman had said.  911 was not working but if I could find the local police stations phone numbers maybe they could receive a text.  Emergency breakthrough messages poured over the towns loud speakers repeating the message to head outdoors at precisely 8:00 am.

“Amy?” He rolled over onto his stomach rubbing his forehead casting dancing shadows throughout the room as his hand blocked the light.   Holding the earring in his other hand he looked up at me.  It was hard to tell which shone brighter, the glimmering spot or his bright green eyes.

He rose to his feet putting the earring into the pocket of his worn out jeans. He some how seemed taller, or maybe I felt smaller.

“Amy everything will be fine but we have to get outside. We must be in the front by 8am!” he soothed.

“But the girl…”

“The girl will be fine, she’s safe in here.”

He approached me outstretching his hand to me. I reached up to meet his hand. His fingertips were warm. His hand covered mine.  He looped his other hand around my lower back and pulled me close.  He smiled at me warmly the corners of his eyes crinkling ever so slightly.

I still trust him.

 “Let’s go”

©Jennifer David The Exalted 2013

 

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33 comments

  1. jadereyner

    It certainly got my attention and I am wondering what is happening, what it is all about and what the girl is there for. I am wondering who all of the characters are and why the power is out so I would definitely be interested in reading on – so I voted. I think the title certainly gives you something to think about although at this stage I am unsure of the genre?? It reads really well so looking forward to hearing more and following the journey! 🙂

  2. Oloriel

    I would defenatly want to read more, it is engaging, not overflooded with information, the scene got set up really quickly the characters aswell. I aswell liked your description of the characters, I liked the action, the rush of the atmosphere. I do notice at some places tho you use repetitiopn that could, in my opinion only, be polished, like for example this spot:”I couldn’t help but notice her earrings, they dangled from gold hooks the earrings appeared to be plastic checker pieces” -either there is punctuation missing or this is just one of the few sentences where I see a very weird and hard to follow structure. I would also avoid using repetitive atributes when describing characters, like the word “dirty”. All of these are hardly noticable,it is just a small remark, small polishing so to say, again in my opinion only. I am looking forward to more excrepts if you put them up and I hope my feedback helps you.

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi Oloriel.
      Thank you for taking the time to both read and comment. As I said, it is a rough copy, unedited. The editing process will clear a lot of that up..
      I tend to repeat descriptions and I’ve developed the habit even more so with all of this poetry writing lately. I will be sure keep an ‘eye’ out for that as I continue to write.
      I’m glad to hear that you were engaged.
      Thanks again,
      Jennifer

  3. Nanny Cool

    I am wondering what is going on and would read more of it. I read it first when other things were going on in the room and found I had to read it again to really take it all in, so it would get people’s attention.

  4. djmatticus

    Captivating – pulling the readers in and leaving them wanting know what happens next. Good stuff. My only comment would be the same as those above, and that you’ve already answered – editing will come later. That’s how I write too, so completely understand!

  5. toniandrukaitisToni

    Jennifer, I’m in a critique group that has been meeting for over 5 years. I’ve learned a lot and have taken several classes and workshops. If you don’t mind…the first sentence is vital. I love the first sentence, but you really don’t need… Pleaded the lady, plus it’s not a complete sentence, it started with a capital P. Also there are a lot of he and she references without knowing who it refers to. I’m really not trying to criticize, as much as tell you what my good friends would say if I wrote this. It is an intriguing story line. Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi Toni.
      I’ve never taken a creative writing class(aside from high school, of course) or work shop and I’ve never participated in a critique group so I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. It was tough to balance introducing the four characters in such a short time frame especially when the names have yet to be announced of 3 of the main characters. I will keep the he/she in mind when I read over it. Thank you.
      I’m terrible with fragmented sentences, something that I have to pay great attention to. (also this is not edited just a rough writing that I read over once, by no means ready ‘to go’)
      The story will span many time frames and ‘destinations’ so it is going to be a tricky write for me!
      I’m glad you are intrigued that’s what I was hoping for!
      Jennifer

  6. Owen

    I really enjoyed these pages. You have a very nice ratio between dialogue and action. I found that you gave information without overwhelming the reader. Your use of description complimented the fast pace of the opening well. It allowed us to feel a sense that we knew the character’s, and helped bring us into the scene. I’m being picky, but two things I noticed were; MacBook should be one word if you are referring to the computer, and in the first line the amount of words starting with “Plea” made it a little awkward to read. Mind you this is just my opinion. I would maybe try a different word instead of pleaded. As a reader we can see from her actions and dialogue that she is in a pleading state. This would be a really nice place to show us she is pleading, rather than tell. Also in talking about show vs tell, I thought you did an excellent job in the rest of your opening showing us what was going on.

    You also did a nice job setting up the location, time period, and tone for your book. This is a really hard thing to bring out in such a short excerpt so well done!!

    I am a little confused as to what is going on, but it is more in a interested to find out more vs a turned off way. At the end I am left with many questions and would certainly want to keep reading to see what happens next.

  7. archfriar

    There are some typos but i’m sure you know that. The first few paragraphs are engaging but there’s so much going on it’s not entirely clear what is happening. After that it’s fine. You could do without the first sentence but that’s mainly a matter of how you write. If it were me i’d focus more on the action itself and thus slow and even out the flow of information to the reader, especially if this is the first page of the story. 🙂

  8. Johnny Ojanpera

    This looks like a great read. I kind of want to stop reading until your done. 😉 Aside from a few editing/spelling issues, which will obviously be covered later, my advice (from experience) would be to watch your sentence order.

    “Texting would still work the mysterious woman had said.”

    The mysterious woman said that text messaging would still work.

    Every time I review my work there are always a few sentences that are better off reversed. You are going to do a great job, especially where being succinct is concerned.

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi Johnny.
      Thank you for taking the time to read, I really appreciate it.
      It’s really good that you want to stop until I’m done writing because that’s all you get until it’s finished. 😉

      It is a fast paced book that jumps through time and dimension like A Wrinkle in Time. The opening is the middle of the book. A challenge for my first book.

      I see what you mean with the sentence order. I always find it more creative and interesting to work in the reverse order but I do see your point. It does flow much nicer post edit.
      My hope is this kind of thing will be filtered out in the editing process (says the laziness in me)!
      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it very much.
      Jennifer

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi Angelique,

      I’m happy to hear that. I’ve been reading Chuck Palahniuk lately to get that starting edge. He pulls readers in right away (whether you like the style or not..even if you don’t want to read it, it’s hard not to)

      The first few pages are so important in every chapter but most especially the opening few pages! imo 🙂

      I’m thrilled to hear your thoughts. It will be quite some months as I am not even half way through writing it.

      I will keep your posted.

      Jennifer

  9. joelghames

    If this is a rough draft, as you say in the comment replies, then there’s really nothing wrong with it that won’t come out in the editing (eg the “honey” image, although excellent in terms of evoking the slow, cloying feeling you’re aiming for, could be tightened, unnecessary words eliminated, passives turned active – “slowed my blinks, thickened my breaths”).

    The pace is excellent and the information we don’t get is well-judged, set to intrigue rather than deter. A very impressive opening.

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi Joel.

      Yes, I only read over it twice and changed a few things. I tend to write and let it flow as I do with my poetry.

      I want to judge the content on whether it is gripping, intriguing. If it will keep you wanting to read more…

      I see what you mean about the tightening, again something I hope an editor will tweak out…lol or I will be sending you an email to help me out!

      Cheers and thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Jennifer

  10. kwanima boateng

    Had me holding my breathe…wondering ‘whats gonna happen next’. Thats a good thing, this promises to be a great book.
    The pace is fast which is good but you will need to be able to sustain it through out the whole book which may prove challenging.
    I heard Maya and Amy’s names but somehow I am more interested in ‘Him’ and ‘Her’. For an era of text messaging and Mac books, you have the challenge of convincing me that such strangeness can exist.
    “He stared at me, his brown hair disheveled, green eyes piercing me, questioning me” here repetition of me can also be looked at when editing, its a bit much.
    Thumbs up!

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi Kwanima,

      Yes, I definitely see the me’s there now that you point them out! Again *calls for my editor* 😉
      Yes, I like the ‘Him’ and ‘Her’ as well. I did not want to introduce the characters formally at this point.
      The book begins at a halfway point in the story. It will be fast paced pretty much throughout but this is a pivotal point in the book…
      I’m so happy to hear that enjoyed the read.
      Many thanks,
      Jennifer

  11. bamauthor

    The overall impression I got was mystery and intrigue. There are a lot of characters introduced all at once. I was a little confused, but I was also mesmerized by the action and wanted to know more immediately. This is the kind of story that I would not want to put down.

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Hi there,

      I want the opening scene to be slightly confusing but also engaging. It was a hard balance. I was hoping for intrigue, mystery and curiosity. Things get explained quite quickly as the pages go on 😉 but none of that can be shared quite yet.
      So happy to hear that you already don’t want to put it down it only gets better! (if I don’t say so myself..lol)
      😉
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment,
      Jennifer

  12. MyRunningShoesSmell

    Read over the first couple of paragraphs had some examples of what you could do…

    “Let me in, please, you need to hide her, PLEASE!” Pleaded the lady. (Begged, Screamed, Screeched etc. would be more appropriate using pleaded would be redundant)

    He was trying (He tried) to stop her, to keep her back and out of the house, (by closing the front door.) she was pushing (But, the woman managed to slip by him successfully breeching) her way into the mudroom. He stared at me (I watched him turn my way shooting me a look of bewilderment.) He was always looking to me for answers. His brown hair disheveled, green eyes piercing me, questioning me. (Switched these two sentences…)
    (You should have some sort of transition. What happened to the lady breaking into the mudroom?)
    I stood there in my kitchen, newly renovated, all (creams?) and moldings, granite and stainless steel. This room had been such a big part of my life. Occupying so much of my time, flipping through magazines for inspiration( I spent a lot of time scouring magazines; looking for pieces that made my kitchen feel ‘warm and welcoming’.) I wanted the kitchen to feel ‘warm and welcoming’. But, not this welcoming. Now I wanted out of it.
    (Use a transition here)
    The room was silent. (My feet were sticking to the hard wood flooring as if it were coated in honey) The floor felt like warm honey sticking my bare feet to the wood. (I felt consumed by the honey creeping up through my body muffling my ears making my blinks slowed, my breathing thick.??) (Not sure if you seriously mean honey or she in some state of panic either way it’s confusing??)

    (Your honey simile was creative. You use passive voice often and transitions are nonexistent. Showing the characters with more emotion and motion would make this far more interesting. Good Luck!)

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      While I thank you for your opinions, my writing style has to remain my own or what is the point, really? The edits you suggest would not meet my style.
      This starts off on the middle of the story and will unfold quite quickly in the following few pages (which you are not allowed to read quite yet!)
      I value your opinion but I like the shorter way of getting to the point and the story and pace has yet to develop.
      I do see that I can tweak the descriptive of using honey to express the slowing of the scene down and expressing her shocked state of being.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and to positively? criticize.
      Jennifer

  13. fanficfan44

    Intriguing set up for a story. Just a couple ideas – watch the passive voice, also you might want to think about describing the action in more detail (use landmarks) – the door jamb, the stove etc. otherwise it is a little hard to picture the action. Conversely, there are places that the descriptions of character’s descriptions could be tightened up, too much detail slows action. Maybe rather than describing the physical characteristics of characters, you could describe more emotion – how does she feel about this woman bursting in her house?? alarmed, scared or just curious or aggravated??

    The use of figurative language is good, just work on those couple sentences. I get what you are saying, that sort of panicky “frozen” or slow motion feeling but it could be edited a little.

    Good Luck, you have an interesting idea for a story

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      All great points, things to consider.
      Editing definitely needs to happen this is only a very rough draft.
      The woman is stunned do the events that led up to the woman bursting in the door. The scene is actually midway through the book.
      I was more looking for input on whether it was engaging, whether it pulled you in and left you wanting to read/know more.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.
      Jennifer

  14. Ellespeth

    Hi Jennifer ~
    I think you have a start going here. It does spark my interest. Depending on the genre, I may read it further. As you said, it’s a rough draft. Keep going with it. Keep your poet-ness in motion – make each work count.
    Ellespeth

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