01 June 2022
A reader's novel opening goes under the editorial microscope
Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's first 300 words and for the full critique, see the July issue of Writing Magazine.
Wizard's Mentor by CA Middleton - original version
Merlin Emrys awoke in his usual foul mood.
The wizard knew, as always, the futility of attempting to escape. Yet, with long in-grained stubbornness, he tried anyway. Fifteen hundred long years had passed since his one-time apprentice, Morgana, or The Harridan as he scathingly referred to her, trapped him within his cold, uncomfortable crystal prism prison. Every conscious minute passed like an excruciating death knell. For the first few minutes after waking, though, Merlin merely allowed his eyes to familiarise themselves with the task of seeing through the surreal mosaic of images swimming dizzyingly in front of him. The fly’s eye view of phantasmagorias danced sickeningly around his head until slowing to something manageable to his ancient eyes. Not that he had a glorious view outside the prism. The calcite cave, with its eerie greenish hue, offered little in the way of amusement for the mind. Not a single tiny creature had so much as stumbled upon the cave and the mineral oubliette trapping him, like a mosquito in amber, since Morgana’s minions pushed him in place those short days before their mistress’s death. So, there he stood, with only his internal voice for company. At first, the constant humming from the ley-line crossover Morgana’s trolls placed his prism over tickled Merlin’s wizard ears. The buzzing comforted him. Soon enough, however, the gnawing “Zzzzzzz” reminder he could not use the ley-line to escape grated every strand of his soul.
Wizard's Mentor - McCredited version
Merlin Emrys awoke, standing, with the customary despair.
For the first few minutes, the wizard stared blankly at the surreal mosaic swimming dizzyingly in front of him. The fly’s-eye phantasmagoria swayed around his head, green through the quartz of his crystal prism prison
Fifteen hundred years had passed since his one-time apprentice, Morgana – The Harridan – trapped him within. Every minute now passed as a silent scream. Not a single tiny creature had come into view since Morgana’s minions had imprisoned him those short days before their mistress’s death.
At first, the constant humming from the ley-line crossover in which they locked him had tickled Merlin’s wizard ears. The buzzing had almost comforted him. Soon enough, however, the gnawing “Zzzzzzz” was a constant reminder that he could not use the ley-lines to escape.
Merlin knew the futility of attempting to escape. Yet his combination of stubbornness and persistent hope persuaded him to try again today.
For the full critique, see the July issue of Writing Magazine