Sample Chapter


No one stared at me as I walked down the street, but no one spoke to me either. I ducked down an alley and hid in the shade between two buildings. While safe from prying eyes, I eavesdropped on the people at the market.
“Didn’t have anything like this back on Earth.” A woman seller said holding up a large pink melon.
“Also didn’t have barbarians trying to kill us.” An old man replied.
I tuned out the couple debating how much better life was before the shift, trying to hear something from the group of kids across the street.
“What- Who was that?” The new trader’s daughter asked.
“That’s Altera,” My own personal bully replied, poisoning her against me already. “Don’t worry, she’s harmless.” I could hear the smirk in her voice.
A tingly nagging sensation crept up my neck and I stuck my head out of the ally. The clay shop fronts all looked normal, as did the familiar sellers at their carts. An unfamiliar man sat across the street wearing a brown dress. Stranger yet, he emitted a faint glow. Was he the danger I sensed? My vision blurred and doubled. One of him appeared normal, but the other had colored threads swirling around inside him. It ended as quickly as it began.
His eyes locked on mine and I turned away.
“Hey you, girl!”
I tried to walk away naturally, but somehow I knew he was behind me. As I quickened my pace, it must’ve been obvious to the crowd that I was in trouble, but no one stopped to help the weird girl. I’m used to their judging eyes, but it surprised me when they gave the man behind me dirty looks as well.
“Filthy wizard,” an old woman muttered.
He’s a wizard? What’s a wizard doing all of the way out here? I broke into a run, his puffing breaths close behind me.
A net of glowing blue threads appeared in the road. I batted them out of the way and they parted like cobwebs.
I ducked down an ally. Other kids ran along the flat roofs all the time, but I’d always been too afraid. A ball of insects scrambled in my stomach trying to escape, but I didn’t have a choice. Using an old barrel to give me a boost, I grabbed the side of the building. A piece of the yellow clay broke off in my hand, but I got my leg over the side and levered myself up.
My sandals skidded over the sandy roof, but I didn’t slow down. The shops stood right next to each other, so with a little leap over the lip of the roof I reached the next building without having to jump over open air.
Somehow, I knew the man was still close by, so I didn’t slow down until I reached the bakery and the end of my easy run. I bent over breathing hard and my nose filled with the yeasty smell of baking bread.
I felt the wizard again. He’s right behind me. No choice. My stomach lurched, but I held my breath and leaped across the gap to the next building. In midair, I realized I wouldn’t make it.
I closed my eyes and prepared for the fall that didn’t come. A yellow light held me to the side of the building. As I stared, it dimmed and then disappeared. I slid to the ground, landing heavily on my butt. That would leave a bruise, but at least I got away.
Mary sat outside her back door a few houses from mine. “Altera.” She waved at me, then frowned as I got closer. “What’s wrong?” We hadn’t been friends long, but she can tell when I’m upset, not like it’s hard. As if having greenish hair wasn’t bad enough, when I’m upset it changes.
I sighed. “What color is it now?” It’s too short for me to see, why draw attention to it?
“Purple.” She tried but failed to contain a giggle, knowing how I hate purple. At least she doesn’t know that when my hair is purple it means I’m afraid.
“I’m okay,” I waved her off. “I’d better get home.”
“Play with me this weekend?”
I opened the front door and groaned seeing the fancy, unfamiliar shoes in the entryway. I crouched down, sneaked into the living room and tried to eavesdrop through the wall, but they were too quiet for me to hear anything. I stood and walked through the doorway into the kitchen.
The wizard sat at the table with Mom. Our vine-woven chair bowed under his weight.
“For such a young girl, she shows–” He stopped when he saw me. “How did you do that?”
“Do what?” Is he mad at me for running away? I stood staring at the woven rug, hoping he wouldn’t curse me. Wizards do terrible things to you if you upset them.
“My magic disappeared.” The net?
“I don’t know.” I told the truth.
“I’ve never seen someone with your coloring before. I’ve spoken with the traders and they haven’t either.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know that either.”
“Was her father …?” he began.
“No, her father was human,” mom snapped, and then took a deep breath. “Sorry, I’ve heard that a lot over the years, her father was just an ordinary man.”

21 thoughts on “Sample Chapter”

  1. katpersephone said:

    First of all, I LOVE the concept for Woven Magic. I love the idea that there’s been some kind of shift and now everything has changed and the humans have to deal with magic, something I wish we really could have!
    I just have some constructive criticism, but since it’s coming from a likewise aspiring novelist, take it with a grain of salt. First, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I had the sense that you switch tenses a few times, from present to past to present and back again, so you might want to just read through it to make sure. Second, since it’s the first chapter, I’d really like to get to know Altera a little more, like what she looks like and how she behaves, as well as what this new world looks like. Can we expect it to look like something we would see on Earth or is it more of a stereotypical village? I know you’ve written on telling instead of showing in the appropriate areas, but, this being the first chapter, I think a little more showing would help bring the characters and the world alive so we as readers can really visualize it. And the rock exploding part could be more powerfully described instead of just saying it “cracked.” Also, do you mean College or do you really mean Collage because I think collage is a kind of art project?
    Otherwise, I am very interested in Woven Magic and I hope you get it published one day for everyone to enjoy! It’s really a very interesting story. Best of luck!

  2. Thank you so much. 🙂 I appreciate all your kind words and your criticisms.

    It’s fun to play around in a world of magic, some of the things I’ve put in just because I think it would be cool to be able to do.

    Switching tenses seems to be my worst bad habit right now. I’ll have to read through it again and see if I can fix that. Good job spotting the collage mistake, I don’t know how many times I’ve read through this first chapter and I still missed that. I edited out some of the descriptions, because it sounded like I was narrating, I’ll see if I can’t add some back in. It’s hard because she’s lived here all her life so she doesn’t think about what the village looks like anymore.

  3. Nice, keep writing!

  4. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Awesome! 🙂

  6. Thank you! 🙂

  7. That was very engaging, Molly. I think you capture the awakening discovery of self very well. I agree with much of what katpersephone wrote (including college/collage), including the idea of enhancing the description of the exploding stone. I disagree with her, somewhat, in more of a stylistic subjective way: I liked that there are unknowns about Altera and about her village, and that you are gradually letting us get to know her. I think this made me curious to find out more. In a way, it mimics her own discovery of who she is. This is, of course, just one opinion. Keep up the good work.

  8. Thank you so much! I can’t believe I put collage again, nice catch.

    I’ll have to think about how I can enhance the stone part. Descriptions are one of my weak points! I have to practice that some more.

    Thanks again! I really appreciate your reading my story and your comments!

  9. The only thing I would suggest is the introduction of your characters name. Altera doesn’t happen until 1867 words in. I was dying to know who was running from the wizard. Given the average page of a book is 250 words that makes 7 pages into the story before I know who I should care about.

  10. Thank you for reading my story and for your comments. You made a very good point. I hadn’t thought of that! I did a quick rewrite and managed to get her name 300 words in, right after the flight from the wizard. Do you think that’s still too late?

    I also put another mention that she’s a young girl in at 475 words.

    Thank you so much! That’s my biggest problem correcting my book, I know it too well and don’t think of things like that.

  11. Knowing your story too well is the curse we all have. Do you have a writers support group? They are very helpful. But remember that suggestions are just that. Go with your gut, feel with your heart and above all use your head.

  12. You can say that again! No, I don’t have a support group. I almost went to one at my local library last week, but I chickened out. Maybe I need to look online. haha!

    Thanks for the advice. I have to figure out a way to add more description without going overboard. (Not sure how to do that yet, I always skim descriptions while reading.)

  13. There are 3 schools of thought on this; If it’s fantasy describe the shit out of it so your reader knows what the hell you are talking about (Multidimensional banana goose pig thingy), Dialogue is action and description, Describe the simple parts complexly and the complex parts simply. Now take all that in for a second and forget it. It’s hooey. My advice is to do what you are doing. Bread crumb the ‘what who looks like, have a bit part character tell the main her hair is messy and green. There is a booger on her face and it makes her uncomfortable in a serious scene. Food for thought.

    • Thanks for the advice! I’d never heard that simple parts complexly and the complex parts simply before. haha! Okay, I’ll keep working on sneaking it in gradually. I like the messy hair idea. I might barrow that. 😉

  14. Sounds very interesting!

  15. Hi Molly, this is great writing. What an imaginative story. My only feedback would be to nix the filtering (not sure if you know what I mean. Let me know if you don’t). That would make everything pop a little more. Give it a try. but honestly, even with the filters I loved it. You’ve got to keep writing! 🙂

    • Thank you! I didn’t have a clue what you meant, but I Googled and figured it out. I didn’t even realize I was doing that (or that that was a thing) Thank you so much for pointing this out! Just when I think I know what I’m doing I find out I really don’t. Thanks. 😀

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