Here's the first 400 words of Erich's Plea, by Tracey Alley.
Good beginning here. I get a great feel for the setting and the genre. I like the descriptions, and feel like they’re not overwritten. It’s a slow start, but I don’t mind that too much as long as I get something to grab onto soon.
Karel had once been a mercenary soldier, selling his skill with a blade to the highest bidder. Then Karel had turned his back on his former profession and joined the ranks of those who served the gentle woodland goddess Freyita. After years of service he was now her high priest and Archdruid of the Sacred Grove.
I’m not a huge fan of back story in the first chapter. I’d rather gather some of this through dialogue or in small bits. I’ll keep reading though, we’re barely in, and I’m interested in the ceremony.
The other male and female members of the Grove, who represented virtually every race in The Kingdoms, formed a chanting circle around Slade and Karel as they welcomed Slade into their circle.
Ah, yes, back to the ceremony. Good.
Once the ritual was completed Slade would be presented with the druidic ring with its wide, silver band engraved with oak leaves and begin his new life.
This is just my opinion, but I’d rather read what is happening at the moment, than what will happen in a minute. So, if it were me writing this, I’d describe this as it happens.
Slade felt as though his heart would burst with pride. Joining the druids of the Sacred Grove had been his dream for more than a year. Finally he had succeeded and it was a triumph he had earned solely on his own merits, owing nothing to his birth.
“Owing nothing to his birth” sounds like maybe Slade is of royal birth, or of some importance. This is a good thing to stick in here. Just a hint, with not too much explanation.
From this day on Slade would renounce his former life. He would give up the right to continue the training he had begun with the warrior-monks of the Black Lotus and dedicate his life instead to serving Freyita. Slade’s decision involved more than just giving up an old profession. He had also given up his name and his birthright. No longer would he be known as Einreich Gudmundson. No longer would he be the Crown Prince of the vast northern kingdom of Vestland. He would no longer be Erich’s designated heir, in spite of his position as a second son, to the centuries old High Throne.
Slade knew he had disappointed his father, High King Erich, in his decision to leave court. Nevertheless his father had allowed it, would even have attended this ceremony had protocol allowed. Knowing he had hurt his father pained Slade deeply but he knew it was the right decision for him.
Well, we do get some explanation here... which I would love to come out later in the story. I’m just a huge fan of ‘hook me first, explain the whole background later’. As it stands right now, I’m curious to know more about Freyita and why he wants to serve her, but I wouldn’t call it a strong hook for me. I probably would keep reading for a little while, hoping that the action would take off.
Thanks so much for submitting your first 400!
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