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by Sambribley

The sweet taste of death eluded Sam and a sudden gasp of air bitterly awakened him. He could recognize the steady beat of horseback, and the sounds of chain rattle echoed rhythmically with the trot of hooves. Blinking his closed eyes open he faced down at a word saddle, weathered due to age and use. He could feel cold metal around his wrist. Sam made sure not to make haste movement, from what he could tell, he was a prisoner. Taking a gamble he peered forward. Before him lay deciduous conifers and a wide open road, but it was all matched by the silhouette in the front. For it was a hooded rider, his jacket black like the horse he sat upon. The beast grunted with great fury and power. He wielded a saber from what seemed the civil war, and on his saddle was Sam's pack a mere arm reach away.

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532 Reviews

Points: 27927
Reviews: 532

Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:02 pm
ArcticMonkey wrote a review...

Hi Sam!

So as far as prologues go, I'm not really sure I generally like them because they're not always necessary in my opinion. I think obviously it's something I'll have to make judgement on after reading the rest of the story but as this is rather short you might want to think about including it in chapter one. I'm only saying this because in this week's Squills Article (the YWS newsletter) I did a Mythbusting article which talked about using prologues which you can look at if you want. Now, onto your piece, I'll start off with what I liked. I think this is pretty intriguing for a prologue, I mean sometimes prologues can be quite info-dumpy but this was concise and straight to the point which is great! It leaves me wanting to read on and I think you should definitely continue this story.

As for improvements, this piece is really short so I'm probably going to talk more about what you could add in to this than what could be changed. So right now I don't really think there's enough about how this character feels. Perhaps he's feeling really trapped or confused or shocked- but I, as a reader, don't know this because it's not mentioned! I really think this is an important detail to include because it lets us empathise with this character and it just gives us a clearer idea as to what's going on.

I feel that there's quite a bit of telling, not showing in this piece. For example,

Sam made sure not to make haste movement, from what he could tell, he was a prisoner.

'from what he could tell, he was a prisoner' is a very small little bit to explain this situation. When you're writing, you want the readers to figure out things really, not the characters. So instead I think you need to talk more about why he thinks he's being kept prisoner. Is he in a really dark, cold room? You mentioned something about chains which gives us an idea of it, but just more things like that to explain what's going on is great rather than just telling it.

Lastly, this kind of links to the above point I've just made, but more descriptions! Of everything! Talk about what the place looks like, smells like, sounds like. Really try and put yourself into this room that your character is in and explain it. Maybe even more description about the character too, just anything so the reader has something to picture in their head because right now it's feeling very empty.

Overall, I think you've got the foundations to make a good prologue/story but now you need to add in the meat of it! Think details, descriptions, maybe even add in a bit of dialogue between the prison keeper and the character. Also, as this is in the first person, it's a great opportunity to really go into depth about how they feel. Are they scared? Alone? Write about it! Anyways, I hope this review helped, feel free to PM me with any questions you have or if you'd like another review on anything.

Keep writing!
~ArcticMonkey x

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508 Reviews

Points: 36791
Reviews: 508

Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:56 pm
dragonfphoenix wrote a review...

"Blinking his closed eyes open he faced down at a word saddle, weathered due to age and use." What does this mean? What's a "word saddle"? Or is it just a saddle? I think you have an extra word here. "it was all matched by the silhouette in the front." How do surroudings match a silhouette? Do you mean they were obscured by a silhouette?
Those aside, this needs work. That, and a lot more description. Expand this, please. This is like a brief glimpse of...what? There's a general idea, but if you're going for a prologue of the "show" variety, this needs quite a lot more done to it, more content and details.
Hope this helps!

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146 Reviews

Points: 17572
Reviews: 146

Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:21 pm
MooCowPoop wrote a review...

At first I thought this story was going to be about a cowboy because I didn't read it closely enough. But then I realized that the guy was behind the horse, and was being dragged by it. I thought you created some really good images in there. Maybe this guy is some sort of time traveler and he's woken up into another one of his things. Those are my theories. I like how this is going so far. However, this sentence doesn't really make sense to me:

"Blinking his closed eyes open he faced down at a word saddle, weathered due to age and use."

i think it's because the comma is in the wrong place. It should be written like this:

"Blinking his closed eyes open[,] he [looked] down at a word saddle [which] was weathered due to age and use."

I don't ride horses, and I don't know why that would matter when asking this, but what is a word saddle?

I'm not really "feeling" the part where you say "blinking his closed eyes open". I know what you mean, but it isn't sitting too well with me.

Overall good job. I'd be interested in learning more about this character, who, by the way, I still think is a time traveler. :) Good Luck!

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Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:55 am
Sambribley says...

Too often we crave the extraordinary in life, without even learning how to cherish the ordinary first. Friend, I promise you this: if you can learn to take joy in the simple mundane things in life, the extraordinary will take care of itself, it'll be on its way, hurrying towards you. But if you skip the first part, it'll ever evade you.
— Arcticus