Friday, November 29, 2013

(19) Contemporary Fantasy: DAY OF THE NIGHTWRAITH

TITLE: Day of the Nightwraith
GENRE: Fantasy: Contemporary

Buck Buchanan, an 800-year-old Celtic warrior, wants nothing more than to die. But he can't, or, more precisely, won't, until he kills the last dragon--the Nightwraith. After seventy years of coming up empty, he tracks the beast to the streets of present-day Philadelphia. With his 200-year-old ex-wife at his side, Buck discovers the Nightwraith's horde of immortal, formerly-human worshippers are planning to incinerate the city in order to plunge the world into war, and he has to decide whether bringing an end to his own life is more important than saving millions of others.

"I guess it was only a matter of time, wasn't it?" the bartender asked. He hadn't shifted, hadn't flinched, when Buck had entered the bar, and for that Buck respected him.

Buck pulled off his amber sunglasses and stuffed them into the inner pocket of his green leather jacket. "Probably," he answered, looking over the three other men in the small tavern. Gruff Parisians, all gathered down at the opposite end of the bar with their beer and wine. They reeked of mortality, of day jobs, of depression. In here only to forget the world around them, the world that would forget them soon enough.

That was fine by Buck. He turned back to the Spaniard behind the bar. "How've you been, Julian?"

"I go by Antonio now." He smirked, a friendly cover to the anxiety his red-veined eyes betrayed.

"Does it matter?"

"To me it does." He reached for a short glass and flipped it over, and then grabbed a bottle of scotch from a mirrored shelf behind him and filled the glass half way. He nudged it across the bar. "I don't
suppose you're just here for information?"

Buck shook his head. Some of the wraithborn were good for information, that was true, but not Julian. The ones like Julian were only good for dying. "Afraid not. We have a bit of a debt to settle."


  1. I enjoy your tone. The sense of general menace that lives here is impressive.

    Thought: What about removing absolutely every bit of dialogue here -- there's nothing that's said that isn't implied already through action or narration, and it would up the verite considerably considering the wraithborne obviously already knows that Buck is there to kill him.

  2. I really don't have much to say about the scene itself. It was pretty strong in my opinion, but I certainly think Constantine has a good point.

    I do think, however, your logline seemed a bit long and that it would actually be pretty easy to cut down. I don't think you need the bit about the immortal slaves or even his ex-wife.

    But that's neither her nor there because it's just the logline.

    Super good luck on auction day!

  3. Regarding the logline, one thing I am not clear on is why Buck has to choose between killing the nightwraith, and thus finally dying himself, OR saving millions of others. It seems like stopping the worshippers' plans and killing the nightwraith would be coinciding goals.

    Regarding your scene itself, I don't really have any comments. It strikes me as pretty tight, but Constantine is right that even without the dialogue, it's clear Buck is there to kill the wraithborn. However, including the dialogue helps give us a bit of characterization for Buck (and for Julian/Antonio, but I'm guessing that matters less, as he's presumably about to die). So keeping the dialogue may be worth it for that.

    Good luck!

  4. I love "they reeked of mortality..." Using scent makes Buck come off very predatory, which is great in this opening scene.

    I agree that the logline is too long. If you could tighten it up and give it voice more similar to your first page, I think it would be fantastic.

  5. Strong intro to your logline and to the book. I had the exact same reaction as Amanda, though - I wondered why the goal to kill the Nightwraith (and end his own life) would be in conflict with saving millions of others. Why aren't they the same goal?

    The tone in your opening is perfect, and you drop some really great details in to set the scene and foreshadow what's going to happen. Watch out for how you describe the details, though; there were a couple that stuck out to me, and pulled me out of the scene, like "red-veined eyes". It's odd phrasing; "red eyes" gets the point across and doesn't pull my analytical brain into the mix. These are nitpicky, I know, but you have some great stuff here and I think a couple of tweaks like that could make it even better with very little time and effort. Same deal with "green leather jacket" - it might be important that his jacket is an unusual color, but is there a more natural way to introduce it later on, without calling my attention to it?

    Sorry to nitpick! I really like this and would definitely read more.

  6. My favourite part of this is how he continues to call him Julian even after he says he goes by Antonio now. Nice touch lol.

  7. I enjoyed this! Fantasy hard-boiled is a new type of read for me. Good action, dialogue, description. Really strong incentive to keep reading.

    This is my favorite sentence, it's exceptional: They reeked of mortality, of day jobs, of depression. In here only to forget the world around them, the world that would forget them soon enough.

    Shows skillful writing chops.

    Nancy Bilyeau

  8. Logline - I wondered why he's so intent on killing the last dragon. You don't give us a reason why. I also wondered what else he's been doing for 730 of his 800 years, if he's only hunted the nightwraith for 70 of them.

    First page - It's written well, but it conveys almost nothing to the reader. We don't know who Buck is or why he's at the bar or why the bartender would flinch at him. Perhaps this isn't the place to start.

  9. This is great, nice and tight and pacey and pithy. Your logline's overlong, but it does the job. The first page I really enjoyed, and I'm full of suspense at what's going to happen next.

    Two small nitpicks - you have amber and green in the same line, I'd cut out one colour epithet. And from the tone and setting, this seems more like urban fantasy than contemporary to me.

    I don't read much urban fantasy, but I have heard that opening in a bar is a cliche of the genre. So as much as I enjoyed this opening, you might want to watch for that.

    Overall, I'd love to read on, good luck!

  10. While the logline does seem a tad long, I really like the story it lays out.

    And while I'm not big on the opening line (I admit to a bias against opening with dialogue when we don't yet know the characters), in general I quite enjoyed this entry. I get a good "story" vibe from Julian, as in I think he's about to draw me into a good story.

    Note: I'm not sure if I understand the final line of the logline, since wouldn't killing the draogn prevent the plans to destroy the city? Or is killing the dragon what triggers it?

    I'd read on.

    Best of luck with it!

  11. The premise for this is super intriguing.

    I felt like the opening could bring out a bit more of the world, itself. You do a fantastic job setting up the tone/voice of your character. However, there were lines in the narrative that I thought could be expanded upon--the significance was a bit lost. From the start, I spent most of the opening wondering why Julian would flinch at his appearance. Or what the wraithborn were--how one can tell the ones good for information from those only good for dying, if they're accepted in the world or hidden, etc. Giving more context up-front lets the reader follow along with Buck, as opposed to focusing on the questions we're waiting to be caught up on.

    Good luck!