Elektra, Part 1

I woke up in darkness. My hands were tied behind my back, my mouth bound, and the earth beneath me moist and damp. Dirt and wet leaves stuck to my neck and limbs. Insects crawled over my body, and I panicked, struggling to break free. Curled in a fetal position, I felt tree roots confining me. Pushing my feet out in an attempt to straighten my legs, I hit a large expanse of rock. Was a boulder blocking the hole where I was trapped? Slippery blackness overpowered my senses, and fear cloaked my screaming thoughts like an angel of darkness closing its wings around me.

Where had he hidden me? Where was my child?

I reined in my thoughts, taking a few deep breaths. My body began to relax, and I lay quiet, assessing the situation. I remembered sudden pain as a blow to the head dropped me to my knees in the forest, outside the village where I was hunting. I had left Rory, my infant son, with Freya. She took us in after I left Rurik, Rory’s father. Rurik had sworn he would take our child by brute force if I ever left him. I couldn’t be sure this was the case, but fear swelled within me. Breathing slowly and methodically, I sought to calm myself. Please, dear God of the faithful, hear me now. Protect my child. I drifted back into sleep.

I awoke to see a crack of light shining in from the edge of the boulder. The huge stone was rocking and scraping my feet. I pulled my legs in close to my body, alarmed at the thought of who was behind the rock. Someone was trying to get me out of here. The boulder was wrenched free, the light of day painfully pierced my eyes.

“There she is!” cried the familiar voice of my brother, Tilliam.

Gentle hands firmly grasped my body and pulled me out of the foul hole, laying me tenderly on the grass surrounding the tree I had been imprisoned in. I looked up to see two of my brothers standing above me. Tilliam bent down to check for broken bones, flashing a winning smile as he saw I was awake, staring at him through a mask of mud caked on my face. He untied the gag around my mouth.

“Elektra, we have been searching for you for days. Are you hurt? What are your injuries?”

My oldest brother, Uzziah, looked down on me, silently, from his standing position. His fiercely furrowed brow had many questions. Tilliam cut the restraints from my wrists, and wiped the mud from my face, kissing my cheek and holding me close.

“Say something, Elektra, we need to move quickly,” said Tilliam. “Rurik has taken your child. Freya is dead. With her last dying breath, she told us Rory had been taken, and you were hunting in the forest.”

“Freya, no! No, she can’t be dead.” I began to weep, my head pounded in pain, and I couldn’t think straight. My worst fears were true. Rurik had taken Rory. “I remember being hit in the head and thrown to the ground. Then, I woke up in this hole. I’m sore and bruised, but other than that, I think I’m fine.”

“She’s dehydrated and needs water, Tilly.” Uzziah pulled a water bag from his shoulder, handing it to Tilliam. “Let’s camp here for the night. She can eat and rest up for the journey tomorrow. I hope she will be able to ride her horse.”

“Yes, we can get more answers once she is rested,” said Tilliam. “Elektra, we brought your filly, Lilka, in hopes you would be found and able to travel.”

“I will be ready tomorrow. ” I sipped the water Tilliam offered me, and closed my eyes. What would I tell them? It had been years since I had talked to any of my family, except for random contact with Tilliam. Uzziah’s eyes told me he didn’t trust me yet. There was so much they didn’t know. My eyes were heavy, and Tilliam’s face began to blur.

“Wake me up for supper.” I said.



Author Notes

Here is my attempt to write a novel for the 3-Day Novel event last year. Wow. There are so many things that seem to need work, I don't even know where to begin! Please, feel free to hack and edit. I need help! It sounds kind of blocky to me. A lack of flow and natural dialogue?

27 Comments for “Elektra, Part 1”

Anisa Claire

says:

Hey Rebecca,

This story pulled me right in. The intro, the setting, the names… all great. I’m excited to read the next part and see where you’re going with this and why one of the brother’s might not trust her even though they’re related.

You set up conflict right out of the gates, which put us right into the meat of it, and introduced us to some key characters. Excellent.

A few notes…

Was a boulder blocking the hole where I was trapped? – Seems like this is internal thought. Should maybe be italicized?

I remembered sudden pain as a blow to the head dropped me to my knees in the forest – This reads a little off to me.

With her last dying breath, she told us Rory had been taken, and you were hunting in the forest.” – Maybe a tad too dramatic/cliche?

“Wake me up for supper.” I said. – A bit random, possibly? And, unless she was joking, maybe not the first thing she’d be thinking about?

Another thing, if the husband went to all this trouble to lock her away in a hole, how did her brothers… who she hasn’t had much contact with over the years… manage to find her?

Great start!

Anisa

says:

Anisa… such great feedback! Thank you. I’m going to try to answer your questions and comment on your comments. Please reply back to answer any questions or question my thoughts. Thank you!

A few notes…

Was a boulder blocking the hole where I was trapped? – Seems like this is internal thought. Should maybe be italicized?
-Great idea! I agree, it could be italicized. I have other internal thoughts that are italicized. I could use this method more often for those “true” questions or thoughts. Vary it between background info and general thoughts. Italicize specific thoughts?

I remembered sudden pain as a blow to the head dropped me to my knees in the forest – This reads a little off to me.
– I don’t feel any “off vibe” to me… explain why it hit you that way?

With her last dying breath, she told us Rory had been taken, and you were hunting in the forest.” – Maybe a tad too dramatic/cliche?
-Exactly what I think when I read through this section. There are many things I need to cut or revise in dialogue and thoughts. This was definitely one of them. If you find more,please point them out to me.

“Wake me up for supper.” I said. – A bit random, possibly? And, unless she was joking, maybe not the first thing she’d be thinking about?
-Well, she was very hungry….lol Hadn’t eaten for a few days. Should I expand on this dialogue? I liked the short clip answer, but that doesn’t mean it reads right to the reader.

Another thing, if the husband went to all this trouble to lock her away in a hole, how did her brothers… who she hasn’t had much contact with over the years… manage to find her?
-Well……Freya somehow got a message out to Tilliam. Tilliam then called on his brother Uzziah to come help find her. I believe that is explained? I was hoping no one would notice….lol Because, it is a bit weak in how they would be coming after her. She has had the most contact with Tilliam, random contact I think I state it as. Freya would know where to find him as she has probably met him before being Elecktra’s closest friend. It is something I don’t really know how to clarify, and may have to remain a mystery to general acceptance of understanding. Any ideas?

Thanks so much for your detailed comments. I really appreciate it!

Becky

Raymond Tobaygo

says:

Good afternoon, Becky

Excellent hook and backfill. The imagery was good, your characters and dialogue believable. A tad over use of adverbs,His fiercely furrowed brow had) but aside from this I really enjoyed the read.

Question, was Elektra underground for 4 days without water?

Take care and stay safe,

Ray

says:

She would normally go on hunting trips for 2-3 days, let’s say Rurik and his men found her on the 2nd or third day. She was in the hole for a day or two before her brothers found her. Not more than three days without water.

says:

Great beginning to this story, Becky. Believe me, I understand blocky. I think what might make your story seem like that is those lengthy adverbs. I try not to use adverbs too often period, especially if they’re aren’t really need, because it slows down the reading and pace of a story. Other than that, I see nothing wrong with this piece. It’s has a good hook about a mother’s want for her child’s return, making it an intriguing read.

Michaela 🙂

says:

Thank you, Michaela. I was actually thinking this morning about how you write, and how the dialogue flows so smoothly. I didn’t even take notice of how many adverbs and adverb phrases I am using. Great advice here. Thank you so much!

Becky

says:

Strong opener, Becky. Jumping right to the next part.

Edit notes:

1. Freya is the Norse goddess of love. If this is intentional, then so be it. 🙂

2. Slippery blackness overpowered my senses, and fear cloaked my screaming thoughts like an angel of darkness closing its wings around me. <-- 'pretty prose'. reads awkward to me

says:

I had written in a notepad all the meanings of my names, as I chose them for certain reasons, and now I can’t find it…. after my move some things got packed oddly. I’m sure it is in a safe place(hopefully not the garbage dump) I need to find it to continue the story. I had researched lots of names for future characters, too!

I am finding that writing a novel is very different than writing all the pretty prose and poetry I love to write. I need to take that phrase out. It is a bit cliche, I think, and not needed. I love imagery and beautiful descriptions. Gotta find a way to make them unique and add to the story naturally.

Thank you for your input!

Lisa Doesburg

says:

Great story, Becky! Until I came on this site, I never knew about reading anything I wrote out loud. What a difference! I thought the edits from Patricia were spot on as far as taking care of the blockiness. Other than that, you have the beginning of a wonderful story that i can’t wait to finish! Great names, too,

says:

Thank you, Lisa, so glad you like it! I will try reading it out loud. I haven’t done that yet. I will have to read it to my dog…lol! I have made some changes to the first paragraph using Patricia’s suggestions. Tim gave me some good advice, too. Thank you for your support. 🙂

Tim Hillebrant

says:

Hi Becky!

I liked this story. I think you’ve set it well, and done a lot to give us good information about the characters we’re reading about. Elektra, Tilliam, Freya, is this set in Viking times? Or in a fantasy setting like it? I think it’s a great touch if it is. 🙂
My answer to your question about the writing being blocky- there’s a couple parts where it feels a bit like we’re being given too much information at once. An example would be:
Say something, Elektra, we need to move quickly,” said Tilliam. “Rurik has taken your child. Freya is dead. With her last dying breath, she told us Rory had been taken, and you were hunting in the forest.”
What you gave us in this piece of dialog, while good, almost feels like it could be drawn out a bit as a conversation. Though I should add given how we had to write this, things like this would be expected, I think.
I hope that makes sense.

Again, a very enjoyable piece, and one I’d like to see more of.

Tim

says:

You are absolutely right, Tim. That is one of the blocky sections I was thinking of. I could cut this section and save until later when it is discussed, again. She probably doesn’t need to hear this in the state she is in. Exhausted and bruised, and just found by her brothers. I can let her rest up before she gets this news, but I wanted to somehow explain how her brothers came to know she was missing, and how they came to her rescue. I’ll work on this some more.

It is a fantasy novel. Kingdoms and warriors. Forest dwellers and rebel bands. I don’t have an exact time period. Still working on the setting. There might be some magic powers involved…. Each character will have a particular strength of power whether it be a weapon or some kind of inner power.

Thank you!

Becky

says:

Becky,

Great setup – you reeled me I, and I’m along for the ride. Well done.

No nits. Really. And I looked hard for them!

says:

No nits. You ARE funny! Maybe no stand-out grammatical errors, but definitely content issues and a flow of sentence structure. Thank you for your vote of confidence, and I do appreciate your willingness to come “along for the ride”. All help is appreciated. 🙂

says:

I like the hook at the beginning, although squeezing it sharper would work, it also could loose something… I read it breathlessly as if the damp penetrated my clothes and the fear enveloped me, ”me, the reader.” But then I would pull it tighter after the angels wings, to make it stronger. But I love it. .

says:

I have made changes to the first paragraph, as suggested by Patricia. I think it is much better now. I will do some work on the areas Tim suggested, too. I’m glad it “pulled you in”, as that is the first most important thing! Thank you for your comments, Ellen. 🙂

says:

Elektra, Part 1 hooks a reader at once. The hard part is done. You have shaped the story. The common thing you need to do now is tighten. For instance: I’ve tightened sentences in the first paragraph. Beginning was fine. CHANGES – Insects crawled over my body. I panicked, struggling to break free. Curled in a fetal position, I felt tree roots confining me. In an attempt to straighten my cramped legs, I hit a large expanse of rock. Was a boulder blocking the hole where I was trapped? Slippery blackness and fear cloaked my screaming thoughts like an angel of darkness closing its wings around me. End of suggestions. Keep working on it. I would like to read more.

says:

Thank you so much, Patricia! This kind of review is exactly what I need. I know that first paragraph is messed up, and I switched things around many times. Your suggestions give me some new ways to edit it. I’m glad you like the story so far, and the beginning has you hooked. Very nice compliment. There will be more installments. I think I wrote around 10,000 words.

says:

Becky, Glad to be of help. The most important thing I’ve learned from editors, readers, etc. is to tighten and change sentences around or toss. Magically, a story will appear through all the slush. Looking forward to reading more.

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