Can someone please help me revise this prologue? 10 points!!?
Okay, so I'm not so great at describing things and making them sound real so I would really appreciate some help on editing this prologue. It's really important to the story and I just can't write it right. I don't want to contact someone through email or anything. I just need someone to give me some tips on how to rewrite it and definitely some detailed examples. I would really appreciate it! Thanks!! The longer the answer the better!
A woman stood amidst a burning village with a hunter green cloak hung loosely over her body. She was gripping an infant wrapped in a blanket and praying quietly. “Rebecca!” She jumped in fear at the voice but it was immediately washed away when she recognized who it belonged to.
“Richard,” she breathed, the dirt and tears causing her face to look darker than its usual pale complexion. The baby in her arms shifted slightly and both of them looked down at it.
“She can’t stay here,” Richard said.
“I don’t want to leave her.” Her voice was barely audible.
“Rebecca, you know what will happen if she stays. I don’t want to leave her either but we have to.” His voice sounded urgent now as he glanced around. “They’re coming.”
There were shouts in the distance and he put his hands on her shoulders. “Go now. You have to get her away from here.” He turned to leave but she gripped at his arm weakly.
“What about you? I can’t lose both of you.” Her bright green eyes stared at him pleadingly.
He cupped her face in his hands. “This is for our daughter. I have to go fight for our daughter and you need to do the same.” He kissed Rebecca on the forehead and then did the same to the baby who was still sound asleep. “Go.”
She reluctantly turned and ran as fast as her legs would allow her to. She held the baby close to her chest, knowing this was probably the last time she would get to hold her. She made her way down the narrow steps that led from the castle and towards the vine wall, the vine wall that would aid in saving her daughter’s life.
Hope streamed into her chest like a river when the vine wall appeared over the hills like a massive safety mark. She took the steps two at a time when another pair of feet suddenly echoed behind hers. Her stomach dropped unevenly when something heavy slammed against her back. She stumbled forward and was sent rolling down the steps.
She covered the baby with her body as each step she hit sent pain shooting through her entire body. Her head slammed on the last concrete step he hit something soft and laid there until she heard the footsteps echoing behind her again. Rebecca heaved herself up off of the ground while wincing in pain and realized the vine wall had stopped her fall. With one last look at her burning city she grabbed the vine wall and murmured the place she wanted to go, hoping that at least her daughter would not remember this event.
- soup!Lv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
Here are some suggestions:
In the first sentence, I'd use the word "hanging" instead of "hung": "...with a hunter green cloak hanging loosely over her body."
I don't think you should use the word "gripping" in the second sentence... It makes it sound a bit like she's holding the baby in her fist. Also, revise it to be in the active voice. You might say something like "She pressed an infant close to her chest and prayed quietly."
Show, don't tell. Writing "She jumped in fear at the voice" is telling. Showing is something like, "She jumped at the sound of the voice, but relaxed when she recognized who it belonged to."
Try to avoid writing that something "caused" something else to happen. You might write, "“Richard,” she breathed, her usually pale face darkened by dirt and tears." Just for example, of course; rewrite however you see fit.
Avoid adverbs also: words like "reluctantly" and "unevenly". Use them only if you really need them, and you don't really need those.
"Hope streamed into her chest like a river when the vine wall appeared over the hills like a massive safety mark." You're using two similes in once sentence; delete one or both.
"She covered the baby with her body as each step she hit sent pain shooting through her entire body." How did she cover the baby with her body while she was running? You might write "She shielded the baby with her body" or something similar, just to be more clear. Delete "she hit".
"Her head slammed on the last concrete step he hit something soft and laid there until she heard the footsteps echoing behind her again." Not sure I understand this sentence... Is it a run-on, or is there a typo somewhere in there? I can't figure it out. Also, change "laid" to "lay".
Overall, this is a good, enjoyable passage. Good luck with your story!
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Hm. I think some of the sentences sound kind of simplistic, like you could combine several sentences. Or in some places you could incorporate some more details to flesh out the scene a bit more. And in others, it seems like... like your details are out of order. I don't know how else to explain that... Like, you should introduce the important points first, and once those are out there, stick in some of the not-so-important details.
Example: "A woman stood amidst a burning village with a hunter green cloak hung loosely over her body. She was gripping an infant wrapped in a blanket and praying quietly." Now, I sort of got the impression that the village had just been ransacked, but the flames were dying down, and everyone else is either dead or ran away. So this could be reorganized into something like "A young woman stood amidst the smoldering wreckage of her village, praying as she cradled a sleeping infant underneath her cloak." So the main points would be: there's a woman, the village is burned down, and she's got a baby. The details we snuck in there would be that she's praying (implying desperation), the baby is sleeping, and she's wearing a cloak. I took out "hunter green" because I thought it made the sentence too long, and wasn't really important enough to keep. Another place where you could trim unnecessary words: "He kissed Rebecca on the forehead and then did the same to the baby who was still sound asleep." could just be "to the still sleeping baby."
Immediately after the voice calls her name, you could validate that the woman is indeed Rebecca by saying "Rebecca jumped at the voice..." It'd be better to call her by name once in a while, so it's not just "she did this, then she did this, then she said that." Make the reader remember who you're talking about.
Now, the scenario was kinda confusing. Richard says "she can't stay here" (we assume he means the baby), and Rebecca says "I don't want to leave her." But then she leaves with the baby. If Rebecca is going to be staying at the village, maybe it'd be better to say "I don't want to give her up" or "I don't want to send her away."
"She made her way down the narrow steps that led from the castle and towards the vine wall, the vine wall that would aid in saving her daughter’s life." Wait a second. What castle? Five seconds ago she was standing in the middle of a village? "Made her way" sounds like she was taking her time. And it sounds funny and melodramatic to repeat "vine wall" for emphasis. Maybe you could imply that it was something special by giving it a proper name. "She sprinted up the hill toward the Vine Wall, now her only hope for saving her daughter's life."
Finally, it seems strange that someone would be right behind Rebecca, then push her down the stairs, without her seeing who it was. Even if it's just "a man". "Her head slammed on the last concrete step he hit something soft and laid there..." This part is definitely missing a word or something. And if whoever it is is RIGHT behind her, she'd either jump right up and keep running, or she'd be too injured and so she'd get caught (I mean, hey, falling down a flight of stairs and hitting your head on concrete sounds pretty concussion-worthy). Also, wouldn't the baby be screaming bloody murder about now? She couldn't have slept through that.
In the last paragraph, did Rebecca grab the actual wall, or a vine? I'm hoping it was the vine. Magical teleportation vines sound awesome. Magical walls, not so much. "One last look at her burning city"? It was a village before! Quit switchin it up on us. And finally, I think you should have Rebecca actually say the name of the place she's going. It'd sound more dramatic, and make the reader curious. "Rebecca looked briefly over her shoulder at the burning village, and, hoping her daughter would remember none of this, grabbed a vine. 'Haven Circle!'" So then the reader would be like "'Haven Circle'? What the hell is that??" And keep reading to find out.
Phew! That's like the longest review I've ever given. It sounds like an interesting plot. Good luck with it =]
- MaryLv 44 years ago
Whilst is an old fashioned term. Just use while. Also toward the end, you say this is a surprise attack, but all through the story, you talk like they've had a while to prepare, or at least like they knew the possibility existed of an attack. I know this is supposed to be a prologue, but it still needs to be a story, not a summary. Us more dialogue, and since this is not modern day earth, more description of the surroundings would be helpful.
- frostigrlLv 51 decade ago
A woman stood amidst a burning village, flames devouring every building in sight,wearing a hunter green cloak loosely over her body.----just put in pauses of descriptions.
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- 1 decade ago
this is graet just needs a few more details like
"Rebecca!"a dark voice called (or whatever you want the voice to sound like) add words like breathed; whisper; and things like that