17 December, 2012

The Look Tag (AKA The Thing Where I Post An Excerpt From My Novel)

Over the past couple of months (yes, I know, I took that long . . .) I've been tagged by JeffO at The Doubting Writer and Susan at Mywithershins to do the Look Tag.

The objective: Post the first instance of the word "look" (or variant) from your current project, along with some of the surrounding paragraphs. The following excerpt is from my National Novel Writing Month project--which is as yet unfinished, in case you were wondering; at the rate I've been writing this month, I think I might have it completed some time in January.

The project is untitled. And before you get confused, in the following scene everyone's aboard an airship called the Ornatus, all personnel have been called to the Engineering deck, and the main character's POV has not been introduced yet (this is only the first page), which is why it's all third-person omniscient.

   Behind the Captain stood three individuals: Two boys and a girl, all with the nose, eyes, and cheekbones of the Captain but with none of the overbearing authority. They weren't officers, not part of the full-time crew, and rarely filled in for the personnel on the lower decks though they had passed all the proper tests. They were the children of the Captain but still considered too green to perform major tasks on a mission as important as that of the Ornatus. They were there because, in an emergency, they could be a fallback.
   One of the boys, in particular, looked uncomfortable standing in front of the 87 crew members. His eyes shifted from one part of the room to the next and he swayed very slightly, like the movement of someone who needs to go to the bathroom very badly and doesn't want to show it.
   The girl, on the other hand, looked on the way to inheriting the mantle of her mother, the Captain. Standing still as feather in a void, she observed the proceedings with an intelligence lost on everyone except herself and another person she could not see.
   "Someone is playing havoc with this ship," the Captain announced, her voice carrying to the back row of the assembled crew. "And I want to clarify immediately that nothing, nothing shall put this mission in jeopardy under my command. Whoever has played these tricks on the noble Ornatus is a fool and has no purpose onboard this airship. All of you have been called here so that I may inform you directly of the fact that each and every one of you will have your quarters searched. In fact, your quarters may already have been searched, as I ordered a top-down check of the entire ship."
   The crew began to mutter, their voices turning into a sweep of anger and indignation that they should have their belongings nosed through by higher officers. The Captain clapped her hands once, and the murmuring stopped, though there was still a hum of discontent.


Any thoughts, critiques, criticisms, opinions on the excerpt?

If you participated in NaNoWriMo, did you finish your novel in November or are you still working on it?

-----The Golden Eagle


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So none of those is the main character? Curious as to who it might be now.

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: Actually, the girl described as the Captain's daughter is the main character--I meant I hadn't written anything through her POV yet, not that the MC wasn't present in the scene. :)

JeffO said...

A fine excerpt, Eagle, thanks for playing along. It's funny, I notice how I did the same thing in mine, where the first example of the word 'look' didn't appear until several hundred words in, then was there twice in a few lines.

Funny, too (or maybe not, the more I think it over) how I automatically defaulted to a male captain. And then she became Captain Janeway.

Anthony said...

Looks like it will be a good book. How much of it have you completed?

Angela Brown said...

This reads as a fine excerpt. As for any crits, right now, there are just a few things to hopefully help. Since we start with two boys and a girl, it would be helpful to have an age range so the reader can establish some basics on that part. Also, you can use the similar but differing features to make each kid stand out, such as "same deep brown eyes but the girl's narrowed with a hawkish manner mimicking her mother, the Captain..." blah, blah. Something along those lines that shows her intelligence as well as telling it for the reader.

Old Kitty said...

I like this excerpt!! I like the Captain! I like there are children of hers skulking in the background!! I totally like!!!

Compared to my feeble Nano entry this year, this is totally brilliant!!!

Take care

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

You used the word "very" twice in this section. That's a lot. An editor would have a field day with this.

But I love your characters. Plus your dialogue is fantastic. Who says havok anymore?

Pat Hatt said...

Very interesting scene, sounds like it will be an interesting read.

Lynda R Young said...

I'm so glad you shared this!! You have me intrigued and I want to read more.

Trisha said...

I love these tag, it's so fun :)

I did finish my NaNo novel and I'm now letting it stew for a while. A good long while, I think.

Rusty Webb said...

good stuff with your excerpt. I wouldn't have any crits for you. I'm sure it's great... I did notice that you called it an airship - is it a steampunk story?

Rose Munevar said...

That's really good- and I'm not just saying that. The way you described the Captain's three children, saying they looked like her without directly indicating they were hers. It's those subtle things that pull a reader in because you have to start putting things together. Good job :)

Carrie Butler said...

I love this excerpt, Eagle! It made me interested to read more. :)

Elise Fallson said...

This is an excellent excerpt. I love the way you describe the scene and the tension in the atmosphere. And I agree with Angela, I'd like to get a better idea of the age range of the children. When you first mentioned boy and girl I imagined kids around 10 yrs old, not sure if that's what you're after. Still, I love the writing. Great work Eagle and I hope to read more some time soon. (:

DWei said...

I can't do this simply because I don't have any books that I need to read now that finals are done.

Charles Gramlich said...

Some nice conflict in the offing. I think the characters are reacting as expected.

The Golden Eagle said...

JeffO: Thanks for tagging me! :) It only just occurred to me now that I didn't tag anyone else in my post . . . oops.

The captain had originally been the father of three sons, but then I thought it would be more interesting if I changed the character into a mother.

Anthony: Half, according to my plot outline. Things are moving slowly right now, since I'm allowing myself to take a break after NaNoWriMo.

Angela: Thank you for the feedback! The characters are in their late teens--I can see how it's confusing without any specific mention of that.

Old Kitty: I'm glad you like it! :)

Michael: Yeah, I tend to repeat things in my writing, from words to excess description.

Thank you! Dialogue used to be one of my weakest points, so I'm especially happy that you think it's good.

Pat: Thanks. :)

Lynda: I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Trisha: It's a good tag.

I'm planning to let my NaNoWriMo novel stew for a few weeks after finishing it. Though I would like to get around to revising/editing next year.

Rusty: Thank you!

Yes, it's steampunk. Though the setting isn't as strong as most other steampunk novels--I might change that during revisions.

Rose: Thank you very much. :)

Carrie: Thanks!

Elise: Actually, they're in their late teens, but I can totally see why a reader might think they're younger.

Thank you. :)

DWei: At least the finals are over, right?

Charles: Thanks--I'm glad the characters seem realistic.

Krispy said...

Oh, an intriguing excerpt! Curious to know who the MC POV will be.

I did NaNo, but I mostly used it to tinker with various projects. Still tinkering, haha.

By the way, I wanted to wish you Happy Holidays!

The Golden Eagle said...

Krispy: The girl of the three siblings. :)

Happy Holidays to you, too!

Paul Tobin said...

This is interesting stuff, I loved the line "standing as still as a feather in the void" - lovely writing. Very poetic touch. When can i read the whole thing?

Deniz Bevan said...

Ooh, I like the sense of control, and the mystery surrounding the Captain's daughter. I'd like to know what happens next!

The Golden Eagle said...

Paul: I had a lot of fun writing that line, I'll admit.

Once I finish the book, I'm thinking about letting it sit for a month or so and then revising it; so probably once that's done. :)

Deniz: Glad you enjoyed it!