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DOGGONE VOICE: ABEL PIRATES

Friday, 29 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda
 

Title: ABEL PIRATES
Genre: YA alternate historical 
Beatrix was used to keeping her head down in Sheepshank.  It was when she felt Miss Black tense beside her that she looked up and spotted him. A man on horseback in their path of retreat.
He hardly seemed a threat—oily black curls bounced beneath his ridiculously wide-brimmed planter’s hat; an orange feather plume sagged upon his shoulder—but Miss Black considered everyone a threat.  Even ruddy-cheeked fops who couldn’t keep their periwigs on straight.
“Hallo there, Miss Black,” the man called with a wave. “Lost, are you? Courthouse is in the other direction.” He laughed, a high-pitched titter, and spurred his horse toward them, settling in at a trot down the wide cobblestone path.
“Not a word,” Miss Black quietly instructed, taking Beatrix lightly by the wrist.
Before she could reply, the man was upon them. Not that a reply was necessary. Beatrix would hardly choose today, of all days, to start conversing with strangers. But ever since arriving in town and finding the streets dead, Miss Black had been on edge—more so than usual. The bank had been locked up, and wedged in the door they’d found a hastily scrawled noted: “Closed. Trial of Billy Cook, accused pirate.”
“But won’t it look suspicious if we miss the trial?” Beatrix had pointed out as Miss Black ushered her briskly toward the path out of town.
She’d stopped abruptly. “Attend a pirate trial? Sometimes I think you take it lightly, just how close you are to the hangman’s noose.”  

 

Filed: Misc, Workshops

4 Comments
  • Leigh Ann says:

    Okay, the first thing I notice about this is that you have VERY nice use of vocabulary and slang. It’s just strange enough to put us into another world but put perfectly in context so I get what the character’s trying to tell me. This is one of those voice things that enables me to HEAR your MC, which is absolutely the first goal. So nicely done.

    You’re giving us information about characters AS it intersects with the narrator’s thoughts and experiences, which is the definition of skillful storytelling with great voice. This is really well done. Thumbs up all around from me.

    One last thing: Anyone who says that first person PoV is the only way to really get inside a character’s head? Read this entry, and BE SCHOOLED.

  • Marieke says:

    My favorite part about this is the last sentence. I’m *very* intrigued.

    Overall, this felt like a solid, historical voice to me. I’d love to know a bit more about the time period, even for alt, but that’s what blurbs are for right? Based on your slang, I would say 18th century?

    In that case, I would love to get that historical feel even more. I think you can make this richer by using more details or specifics. Nothing much, and perhaps it’s part of the rest of the chapter, but I think you could embellish this.

    Overall though, it’s very strong. Great start!

  • callmebecks says:

    I like the setup here, and there are moments of great voice, particularly in the second paragraph. I just think some excess information here and there clutters things a bit.

    IN-LINE CRITS
    Beatrix was used to keeping her head down in Sheepshank. It was when she felt Miss Black tense beside her that she looked up and spotted him. A man on horseback in their path of retreat.

    He hardly seemed a threat—oily black curls bounced beneath his ridiculously wide-brimmed planter’s hat; an orange feather plume sagged upon his shoulder—but Miss Black considered everyone a threat. Even ruddy-cheeked fops who couldn’t keep their periwigs on straight. (This last sentence has GREAT voice.)

    “Hallo there, Miss Black,” the man called with a wave. “Lost, are you? Courthouse is in the other direction.” He laughed, a high-pitched titter, and spurred his horse toward them, settling in at a trot down the wide cobblestone path. (This last section, from “settling” onward is unnecessary in my opinion and is one of those areas where it bogs down the flow.)

    “Not a word,” Miss Black quietly instructed, taking Beatrix lightly by the wrist.

    Before she could reply, the man was upon them. Not that a reply was necessary. Beatrix would hardly choose today, of all days, to start conversing with strangers. (I think this is another area where the sentences could be cut to give things a cleaner flow.) But ever since arriving in town and finding the streets dead, Miss Black had been on edge—more so than usual. The bank had been locked up, and wedged in the door they’d found a hastily scrawled noted: “Closed. Trial of Billy Cook, accused pirate.”

    “But won’t it look suspicious if we miss the trial?” Beatrix had pointed out as Miss Black ushered her briskly toward the path out of town.

    She’d stopped abruptly. “Attend a pirate trial? Sometimes I think you take it lightly, just how close you are to the hangman’s noose.” (This is an incredibly intriguing line and would keep me reading LIEK WOAH. I vote to trim up the beginning so you can work this closer into the top.)

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I absolutely got whisked into this scene. I hear the voice and love the characters already. And Pirates? Alternate history? LOVE! Yipee!!!

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