Hi all, I wonder if I can ask for honest feedback on the attached short extract from my fantasy novel - The Perfection Engine. Some of you have k already been kind enough to comment on the first chapter as well as a scene from later in the book.
This chapter (partial chapter?) is a bit of a first draft work in progress. So as well as any comments on really egregious over-writing, showing not telling, issues of psychic distance, repetitions and grammatical horrors, I'm really interested to see if the events portrayed make sense and are understandable. I'm actually trying to convey a very specific 'thing' that happens in the chapter which is quite difficult to describe. I think I've found a way to convey this 'thing' while keeping close to the main charcater's point of view... but I'm not sure if it works. Any thoughts as to whether the 'thing' that happens is clear (or not) would be most welcome.
Because this chapter is some way into the book, it references events that have already happened. So to hopefully help make sense of some of this and to give some of the context that readers of the book will have been given at this point, by now it will have been established that:
- Membra (the book's protagonist) is limbless, and has been for the last twelve years, as the result of injuries suffered in an unexplained attack on her home, the College of Thieves, and its subsequent destruction.
- Steeltooth, the old librarian of the College, the man who raised her and she loved as a father, was violently killed in the same attack that injured her.
- In the following dozen years, following her recovery from the amputations that saved her life, Membra has adjusted to her new life as best she can. She is living as independently as possible, earning her living as an information miner and researcher, as well as (against all odds) operating as a thief when she can, years of training, dedication, acquired skills and ingenuity somewhat compensating for her disability. Outwardly, she has rebuilt her life. But inwardly, haunted by regret and guilt, she is incomplete and broken, searching for a wholeness that can never be hers again.
- A few weeks ago, during an unexpected and strangely well-paid thieving commission to purloin items from a well-guarded Remembrancer's Tower, Membra found a strange device, an ornate metal orb. To her astonishment, she remembers seeing it once in Steeltooth's quarters as a child, but when she had asked him what it was he only remarked cryptically that she would one day understand its promise and its danger. She never saw it again... until her semming chance discovery... or was it chance?
- In her research so far, she has found ancient historical and mythological sources that have given it a name - the Noumenon - and mention it as an object of great power and peril. But there is nothing, so far, that gives any indication of what it actually is... or what it does ... other than tantalising hints at it as the 'harbinger of perfection'. This strikes a chord with Membra, who believes herself to be imperfect, and makes it all the more important that she finds out the Noumenon's secrets.
- On the night of the break-in when she discovered the Noumenon, she was surprised by a stranger who also seemed to be searching the Tower. He has since tracked her down and identified himself as Custos. An ex-mercenary haunted by his own violent past, Custos has been following his own cryptic trail to an artefact he has been told can grant forgetfulness and redemption to those racked with guilt... and it would seem that journey has brought him to the Noumeno as well.
- There are signs that other malevolent forces are also stirring as the result of Membra's find; indeed, Membra and Custos were attacked the night they first met, escaping only by the sking of their teeth. Bonding as the result of the shared danger, they have become at first reluctant allies, each suspicious of the other, and then - increasingly - partners and comrades. The trust has grown strong enough between them that Custos has recently moved into Membra's lodgings so he is on hand as her research continues...
Now read on! 😀 The doc should hopefully be attached.
Oh, and in the spirit of the recent posts about pictorial representations of our creations... here's an illustration to maybe whet the appetite! 😄