Thoughts on this? (UPDATED!) opening scene

the first part of the first chapter

The night the child was discovered, dark clouds had blotted out the moon as rain tore through the forest. Shaman Yon, leader of Makiista Clan, had finished pouring through potion recipes for fertility, but there were none as infertility was not a sickness that could be healed. For years he and his wife, Cerenti, had tried, but without success. They had about exhausted their options. With a heavy heart, Yon had set out into the rain to return home. As he left the library, he heard a sound behind the storm, like a mewling wail of a child. He paused to listen, twitching his ears, trying to find the source, but it was gone.

“I must be tired,” he muttered and was about to make his way up the hill to home, when the wail pierced the air loud and clear. Yon snapped his head toward the forest. Slipping on the mud, he scrambled to the arch gate, peering into the shadows where thick branches swayed as the wind roared.

The child mewled again, louder.

“Where are you?” Yon called. A child wouldn’t survive this storm. He leapt into the forest onto the well-used path. The leaves on the ground were slick and he fell many times, but continued to search for the child. Branches scratched his arms and face. A root tripped him, and he tumbled into a thorn bush. Blood smeared across his lips.

Yon shivered on the ground, dragging himself up, eyes gleaming with determination to find the wailing child. If there was one thing he had learned being a leader was that he must protect every life that resided in his clan even at the cost of his own.

When the storm had retreated, and the rain had calmed, Yon stumbled into a small, moonlit clearing with a raven statue. There, at the foot of the statue, an overturned basket lay. Yon turned it over to find a tattered white cloth with “Pinti” embroidered across it. The bundle moved, a mewling cry came muffled.

“Sound of rain?” he breathed out, picking the child up gently in his arms as it cried. She was covered in dirt. Yon used the cloth to wipe her fur. He paused, gasping at what he saw. Her fur was the deepest azure he had ever seen with dark blue stripes almost black. In the moonlight, her fur reflected purple hints. What was most striking were her eyes—blue, like all Makiista Kathula, but with hints of orange specks sparkling within. No Kathula in all the four clans looked like her.

“Where’s your mother?” he whispered. “Are you all alone?”

At that moment, the child’s forehead glowed beneath the dirt. With the cloth, Yon wiped her forehead, revealing her Lunar Marking—two triangular moons, one inside the other, with a runic symbol shaped like an hourglass in the middle. Only the leaders of Kathulan clans could have these marks. Partners would be gifted the mark during the wedding ceremony. Children would receive it from their parents. The marking held Kathula magick, a gift from the moon to relax bodies and heal wounds, even cure deadly diseases.

“But which clan?”

He would decide to search for her parents in the morning, but when Pinti’s azure paw grabbed onto his thumb, his heart swelled with love and he couldn’t bare to let her go.

Shaman Yon would return home to Cerenti who insisted he find the child’s parents.

“No, she’s a gift,” he said, “The Lunar Goddess heard our prayers. She’s ours, Cerenti.”

Cerenti shook her head. “We can’t just take a child. What if her parents are looking for her? Promise me you will report at the leader’s meeting?”

“Alright, but if no one knows, she stays with us.”

The following day at the leader’s meeting, Yon would take Pinti to show to the other leaders in hopes of finding her parents. But no one had ever seen a Kathula like her. That day, Yon and Cerenti adopted Pinti as their own. They would raise her as their only child for eight years until, miraculously, Cerenti would become pregnant and give birth to Tendri. Pinti and Tendri would be inseparable for many years to come.


“And that’s my story,” Pinti said, smiling to her sister. It was Pinti’s fifteenth birthday, and Tendri had asked about her story for the hundredth time. Now, she sprawled on Pinti’s bed, picking at a thread.

“What about mine?” Tendri whined.

“Well, you came out of Mother’s stomach, cried a lot, ate a lot, and now you’re seven.”

Eight.” Tendri insisted although her birthday wasn’t until a week later. “So, you don’t remember your birth mother?”

Pinti shook her head. “I don’t remember anything.” But this wasn’t entirely true. Sometimes she would dream about a Kathula male with black fur. And in that dream, she knew his name, but when she woke, it would slip away.


  1. Does it draw you in?
  2. Would you read on?
  3. Any points of critique?
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I am not drawn in by this paragraph. Most of that comes down to the fact that it is all in passive voice and it’s telling. SHOW me the baby mewling. SHOW me Shaman Yon finding the child. SHOW me the rain pouring down on them and stinging their skin. SHOW Shaman gasping at those beautiful eyes. If you can do that, you’ll draw me in and I’ll read on.

Hope that helps.

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Thanks for your thoughts!

This part is actually backstory/flashback type of thing I’m trying. The present day begins after a page. Do you think it’s okay to show it in the way you said? It wouldn’t be confusing when the story slips to present day?

Always better to show, unless this dialogue is directly from the one who found her as they are doing another set of actions.

I could have Yon tell the story to Pinti. Or have Pinti, in present day, writing it down or remembering what her father told her, somehow.

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This is what comes after the paragraph. It has a bit more…character in it, maybe. Idk. This is really all an experiment to see if I can get this important backstory in without doing flashbacks in the first chapter.

I’m trying not to have it go on for too long :sweat_smile:


“Where’s your mother?” Shaman Yon lifted the cloth and there, on her forehead, he found the Lunar Marking—two triangular moons, one inside the other, with a runic symbol shaped like an hourglass in the middle. Only the leaders of Kathulan clans could have these marks. Partners would be gifted the mark during the wedding ceremony. Children would receive it from their parents. The marking held Kathula magick, a gift from the moon to relax bodies and heal wounds, even cure deadly diseases.

“But which clan?”

The Shaman asked around the other clans, searching for Pinti’s parents, but even when he traveled far to the desert clan in the south or to the rock-climbing clan in the west, no one knew of the child’s parents. No one had seen a Kathula like her.

That would work better.

Don’t forget to add color, too.

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

“No, Yon. No one would leave a baby out in the rain.”

“You’re right!” He chucked at the observances of the small one. “It was a normal day when I saw this little tuft of blue amidst the greens, browns and reds of the forest.”

Something of that nature.

Written at the same time as you posted.

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In football, it’s called the “color analyst”: the person who adds flavor for what would otherwise be a stats filled and dry commentary on football.

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lol XD

Be glad Kathula do not know about this cliche beginning :stuck_out_tongue:

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Is this a prologue?

Regardless, you should use active voice rather than passive. If I were writing this paragraph (and please keep in mind that I know nothing about your story, my voice is very different than yours, and I’m just doing this on the fly,) I would write:

Shaman Yon shivered as her shoes sloshed with every step in the Makiista Clan’s forest. She clung to a tree, trying to avoid the rain’s sharp sting. Mewling sounded in the distance. “What the fraggle was that?” Shaman wondered aloud. “Is it a baby? A wolf? A baby wolf?” She had to help whatever it was. She searched through the brush, briars slashing her skin, until she found a tattered cloth with Pinti–the sound of the rain–embroidered upon it. Underneath was a child. Shaman gasped as she took in the baby’s appearance. Her fur was the deepest azure with hints of purple and her stripes were such a dark blue, they were nearly black. Most striking, though were her eyes. They were blue like any Makiista Kathula, but hers sparkled with golden specks.

(There would probably be a few paragraphs there, but you get the picture.) Also, you might need to do past participle at first to set up the flashback.

I wanted to add that in the event that Shaman is an animal, you can show her paw sinking into the ground. Many ways to show that it’s raining.

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It’s what you call pure cheese for the audience.

It’s part of the first chapter.

so, like,
The night the child was discovered, dark clouds blotted out the moon and rain tore through the forest. Shaman Yon, leader of Makiista Clan, was on his way home when a sound like the mewling wail of a child had caught his attention. He stopped to listen, but only the sound of rain remained.

I must be tired. He had thought, but then he heard it again, loud and clear. It might have been instinct that drove him as he dropped his umbrella and leapt into the forest.

“Where are you?” he called as the wind roared.


idk how to continue XD but something like this? Using “had” is what you mean?

Your example is definitely closer to showing. I think it still needs some work, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Now, for a flashback, you can start it with past participle (had). Once it’s established that you’re in a flashback, you can ease into past tense. I’ll be honest, though, I really hate writing flashbacks. I use them sometimes, but I’d almost rather have the shorter info-dump than a gazillion hads on one page.

The night the child was discovered, dark clouds had blotted out the moon as rain tore through the forest. (I used “AS” so we could eliminate a had right after “rain”). From there on, you can probably get away with past tense.

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Ahhh, okay.

Thank you so much for your help! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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It dosen’t really draw me in. It feels like the descriptive opening. While I don’t really mind those, I much prefer opening with some sort of action in them. Some movement, thought, something that’s happening.

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I updated it: @SomewhatDistracted @Novel_Worm @J.L.O If you could give me your thoughts, it would be great. Also, anyone else, if you have anything, it would be great, thanks.

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Bear. Bare is exposure. Bear is burden and furball. English sucks, sometimes, and autocorrect will foist this on you even when you get it right the first time.

But yes, this is way better. It needs the polishing every writer needs with their work (if they are being serious), but as a for-fun read? This is spot-on where it needs to be at.

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Personally, in this paragraph, I’m not overly fond of all of the “woulds”. I think you can get away with past tense…and I’d probably leave off the last sentence. My gut says that you’re going to show us that they became inseparable.

As for my opinion, I think this passage is A LOT more engaging than the version from last night. Good job.

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I keep getting this wrong XD Bear and bare. I always second-guess myself with this, too. Because then I think, “Wait, but bear is the animal so it must be bare, right?” And then I get it wrong :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m in the process of rewriting the story, so this is kind of like a first draft here. Good to hear that it is better for now :slight_smile:

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