Battle of the Betas, take 2!

It’s time for another beta round robin! Who’s excited?? Sweet, me too! This time, the lovely Alicia offered up her page for comments. Here’s her original.

20 Years Ago

Ianos studied the chimera pride that roamed the foothills outside Timmons for months in search of the runt. With a pair of large males and several females, it took him longer than he wanted, but once discovered, he kept his eye on it. In a final attempt of self-preservation, they abandoned it weeks ago. Each day it grew weaker, languishing without the companionship of the pride. On the fourteenth day, Ianos executed his oh so easy plan.

Armed with nothing other than his knowledge of spells, he made his final trek to the foothills. He was much closer than he’d been in his previous visits to the chimera grounds and never seen anything like the beast before. It lay in the sun, with only one head awake, but not alert. The lion head mewled, mourning its fate. Its paper lantern thin wings stretched on the ground while the dragon and goat heads slept.

It was awing.

The lion head despondently watched Ianos’ approach but roared to awaken the other two heads when Ianos crossed some unknown border. The beast rose to its full height, stretched its wings wide, and bellowed—all three heads created a cacophony of rage.

Ianos snarled and crouched, ready to strike. Electricity spurted from his palms towards the chimera. It dodged at the last second and ran head-on towards the sorcerer. He ran into a cave to his right; he’d have better luck surviving the fight if he was able to corner the animal. The beast skidded, turned, and charged again. Ianos leapt onto its back. He held tightly onto the lion’s neck scruff and struggled to pull a lasso out of his jeans.

And here are my edits.

20 Years Ago

Ianos studied the chimera pride that roamed the foothills outside Timmons for months in search of the runt. (This sentence is a bit of a mouthful. Could you lose “that roamed the foothills outside Timmons” and add the location in later?) With a pair of large males and several females, (this is confusing–are the males and females guarding the runt?) it took him longer than he wanted, but once discovered, he kept his eye on the runt. In a final attempt of self-preservation, the pride abandoned it weeks ago. Each day it grew weaker, languishing without the companionship of the pride. On the fourteenth day, Ianos executed his oh so easy (delete)plan.

Armed with nothing other than his knowledge of spells, he made his final trek to the foothills. He was much closer than he’d been in his previous visits to the chimera grounds and had never seen anything like the beast before. (Are you referring to the runt? I might not use the phrase “beast.” It conjures up images of something more powerful than the runt of the litter). It lay in the sun, with only one head awake, but not alert. The lion head mewled, mourning its fate. Its paper lantern thin (the wording of this took me out of the story) wings stretched on the ground while the dragon and goat heads slept.

It was awing. (“It” refers back to the chimera, so I had to read this twice to get that you were talking about the scene being awing)

The lion head despondently watched Ianos’ approach but roared to awaken the other two heads when Ianos crossed some unknown border. The beast rose to its full height, stretched its wings wide, and bellowed—all three heads created a cacophony of rage. (I might consider starting your story from this point—this is where the action is).

Ianos snarled and crouched, ready to strike. Electricity spurted (I’m not such a fan of this word in this context. Spurted seems too weak for electricity) from his palms toward the chimera. It dodged at the last second and ran head-on toward (although this is the second time you’ve used toward in so many sentence. Maybe have it run “at” him?) the sorcerer. He ran into a cave to his right; (mention the cave earlier, otherwise it reads as a too-convenient plot device) he’d have better luck surviving the fight if he was able to corner the animal. The beast skidded, turned, and charged again. Ianos leapt onto its back. He held tightly onto the lion’s neck scruff and struggled to pull a lasso out of his jeans.


Thanks for volunteering, Alicia! Overall, I would recommend starting right at the action and mentioning how he was watching the chimera for weeks later, perhaps to break up the fight between them. Does that make sense?


Now go check out what everyone else did!


Cory
Kate
Raven

Sarah
Windy

What about you? What suggestions would you have made?

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8 Responses

  1. Kate Hart says:

    Wow, we didn't just have the same suggestions, we worded our suggestions the same way! LOL We must be geniuses.

  2. Sarah Enni says:

    Mereditch & Kate = beta masters. I like your suggestions, and agree that the cave popping out of nowhere is a bit too convenient.

    "Paper-lantern-thin" pulled me out of the story a bit, too. In my edits I just changed it to be in AP Style though HA. True journalist.

  3. Meredith says:

    Kate, did we?? I swear I didn't drive to your house last night and hijack your laptop!

    Sarah, the AP stylebook is the only way I know it's toward and not towards. I had a journalism professor who was RIGID about it!

  4. Cory Jackson says:

    Agree on the cave comment. And nice catch on twoard! :)

  5. WindyA says:

    Yep. What all of you guys already commented. :) 'nuff said.

  6. Karen Strong says:

    This is such a great idea! I'm making my rounds from Windy's blog and it is interesting that you all picked up on the same things.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Alicia Gregoire says:

    Thanks Meredith. I like how you and Kate suggested starting with the fight. In my initial draft, this is where I started and then backpedaled. I've been yelled at for the backpedalling before, so I thought I would try the straight forward approach.

  8. Raven says:

    Hehe, I felt the same way about that cave. Great critique!

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