Mage Life Chapter 1

Oh boy not this again, I thought as I was woken up by a small glowing orb. The same orb from yesterdays orientation. It hovered flashing next to my potted fern. Then a voice came from it, “Mage, you are summoned to headquarters for assignment,”

The voice was a recording. Which the commander had dispatched to fetch me. The orb barely had enough intelligence to do that, but it didn’t know that, so we mages had been told to treat all the summoned or constructed beings with respect.

The Orb continued in its own voice, which was rather childlike: “Do you need any help getting there?”

Poor thing. I doubted it could find its way back on its own.

“Sure why don’t you ride on my shoulder. You can give me directions from there. Sound good?” I responded. “Give me two minutes to get dressed.”

The orb just blinked.

I pulled myself out of bed, looked around proudly at my far larger room, courtesy of passing my mage exam. As part of being a mage you end up working for the Wizards Council, that’s where I was being summoned to. The regional offices.

I pulled on my mage uniform. Simple black trousers and shirt. A full length leather overcoat with colour coded bands at the wrists. Green on one wrist, Blue on the other for me. And tough leather boots. Nothing I was wearing was enchanted. I had to do that myself, once I got the chance.

“Right, I’m ready,” I said, rather more cheerfully than I felt.

The orb floated over to my left shoulder and off we went.

Headquarters wasn’t too far away. It was one of the perks of my new mage apartment, I only had to travel about 100 yards. The poor orb was fading slowly. The boss must have forgotten to feed it.

I picked up the pace. I really feel for the conjured, they have no life of their own, but what we grant them. Even if I wasn’t ordered to be nice to them, I would anyway. I remember my first golem as a kid. He died, because I didn’t know how to look after him. It still hurt, but was a valuable lesson now.

I got to the headquarters doors, a large oak double affair. Sending my magic ahead of me, the authentication charm detected me, opening the doors.

My boss was sitting at the big desk in reception, staring right at me, red in the face and looking really cross.

“Junior Mage Tristan! What time do you call this?” he shouted at me.

I mumbled out an incoherent mess of syllables, that was supposed to be an excuse.

“No, don’t answer. Orb, you get over here, you took too long,” he continued, he raised his hand and pointed at his feet.

Orb floated over to my boss, flickering slightly.

“Sorry Dad,” it said

It brightened as it got closer to its “father”. Absorbing the ambient energy of its creator.

“No! How many times have I told you we are at work? You call me ‘Senior Mage,’ or ‘Sir’ at work,” my boss said to Orb

Orb shifted colour from a pale blue to light pink.

“Sorry Sir,” Orb said.

I was fuming, you don’t treat created beings like this. They can’t understand at their age and power. I remained silent. It was only my second day as a qualified mage. I really didn’t want to get on his bad side already.

The boss turned back to me. He looked mollified by the submission of his “child”.

“Junior Mage Tristan as this is your induction week. You are to attempt as many different tasks as we can find for you. I have your testing shard here. It says you were top of your class in earth, Is this correct?” he asked.

I drifted off slightly as I remembered my earth classes. I’d missed that he’d asked a question.

Is this correct?” He shouted at me.

Wow, where is my head today? I’m not normally this much of a pixie, I thought.

“Yes Sir it is. Golem creation and skill implantation are my best earth skills. I’m okay with plants and infused enchantment,” I was understandably proud, my voice just vibrated with pride.

“I didn’t ask for your life story, Junior Mage, a simple yes or no is more than enough for me,” he reprimanded me, before continuing, “And it says here you have water skills as well?”

“Yes sir,” I answered very firmly not wanting to overstep.

“Well, Mud boy, let’s send you out to help the farmers today,” he said with a smirk.

I did my best to hold in a groan. Not only was he calling me names, he picked the most boring task ever.

“The farmers west of the town are having an irrigation problem. Do you think you can handle it?” he asked,

I hate this man, doesn’t he know what I can do? was all I could think.

“Yes Sir,” I voiced sullenly.

My boss just looked at me doubtfully. “We shall see. Remember this is induction, if you can’t handle it report back to me or send a message, and we shall find you a simpler task.”

He handed me a small rock.


I went, carrying my rock.

I wasn’t feeling too great as I left. My second day and the boss was already giving me a hard time. I will show him. Maybe he will give me a better task once he sees what I can do, I turned my attention to the rock. I used my magic to access the information stored in the innocuous piece of flint. It played like any other recording but this one is in my head, guiding me to the mission.

<Turn left at sprite fountain, keep going, Would you like to get more details on your task while you travel.>

Hmmm would I? Not really, but I best had in case the boss checks, I directed the thought


<Your task is to fix the irrigation systems before you leave for the day,> I then got a list of possible causes for the water problems.

“Really? Monster attacks? How is that a possible cause?” I exclaimed momentarily forgetting to silently say it to the rock.

Monsters and magical creatures hadn’t been seen in a decade. I got some very funny looks from passers-by. I guess I did look strange. I was young for a full mage, just turned twenty, most were in their late twenties by the time they took their tests. Long black hair, tall, slim. Even my faintly glowing eyes set me apart. Not all of the looks I received were funny. The ladies loved me. Although the older ones just wanted to fatten me up. I had no idea why.

I approached the farms appropriately named East farms. I could see golems in the fields watering the crops. Large, man shaped rocks, I assumed as a temporary measure till water was arranged.

Looking around I didn’t see anyone about. Where are they all? As I wandered I thought maybe they are at the irrigation system. Looking toward the east I saw a bit of movement. As I got closer I could see it was the farmers, standing around a stone plinth. It had to be the irrigation system access point.

“Hello?” I called.

The oldest, he had to be in his fifties, just looked at me. I thought, more than a hello may be needed here.

“Hello, I’m Tristan Sodden. I’m your assigned mage for this incident. Can you please tell me what the problem is?” I declared as assertively as I could. The farmer, still not looking very happy with me, just snorted.

“You’re a full mage?” The other three farmers behind him sniggered quietly.

Now I felt rather insulted.

“Yes I am, just qualified,” I rather stridently stated.

“O boyo we were ‘specting a older one. Didn’t know they made them so young,”

He smiled at me with a glint in his eye before saying.

“We just messing with ya, don’t take it personal like. Rysan at the office mirrored us saying, you would be young. Sorry if we upset you.”

“Thats quite alright sir, I understand. So what seems to be the problem?”

I felt much better now and I now knew my boss’s name.

“There ain’t no water in the system is there?”

For some odd reason it sounded like he was asking me. I mean, wouldn’t he know? Apparently this was part of my task. I should have listened to the rock.

“I shall investigate sir,” I responded in my most authoritative voice, which wasn’t that authoritative, but I needed the practice.

I sat down on the edge of the plinth, trying to remember my water lessons. I still wasn’t very good, but I passed. Water is supposedly a good second knack if you have earth because they are often found together, they affect each other. Like earth, but wetter is all I really got out of that lesson. Not the most helpful. Instead I resorted to my natural knack.

Earth has always felt right to me. I sent my senses into the earth around the well, looking for anything that changed. That’s odd, the earth and stone had no trace of powered enchantment, Coming back to myself. I looked around at the expectant faces of the farmers, they just looked back, the stares made me forget what I was going to say

 “The system is empty, like it’s never had water in it,” I just blurted out

The lead farmer looked so disappointed

“Did you not pay attention to your task stone? This is a new system, you are supposed to do the final shaping and enchant it to summon water, boyo.”

I flushed angrily at being made to look stupid by my boss. Keeping my anger hidden from the farmers. “I’m sorry Sir. My boss didn’t say anything about it, and my stone didn’t inform me.” I responded

The lead farmer softened at that, “Well no harm done, can you do it or should we sent for someone else?”

Proudly I declared, “I can do it.”

The lead farmer seemed to think about it for moment then slowly nodded his head and walked off, his fellow farmers followed him.

My boss had set me up to fail, intentionally, but I would show him that I was better than he expected.

I sat there for a few minutes thinking about what I needed to do. The final shaping needs to go last, after the enchanting.

For this device I needed to summon water. Stone isn’t normally great for water based stuff, but it would work in a pinch, so I got to work on the stone base of the system. An hour later we were done with the enchantment. Now to move on to the shaping. A nice smooth finish and a bit of strengthening seemed right. Pushing my power out to surround the structure. I had it smooth the edges helping the individual pieces feel part of the whole structure. A feeling of oneness with each other, before my eyes I saw imperfections fade and the whole device shift slightly fitting together far better. A faint chill touched me as the device activated, drawing some of the moisture out of the air. Condensation beaded on the surface briefly before being sucked deep into the stone. Then it was done, just in time for lunch.

I bade farewell to the farmers, as I was doing that I turned towards the road, back towards the town wondering what I should have for lunch. I passed through the market looking for a good meal when I felt a heat pulse on my chest. Puzzling. I pulled out my pendant, it had warmed. The pendant was a clear green stone set in silver and one of the first things I made with my magic. To look at, it was nothing special, but a look with my other sense revealed a knot of magic in the center. It had appeared during my tests. It seemed stronger than yesterday.

My stomach rumbled, distracting me from the bauble around my neck. Food. What do I want? The market had to have a food stall. There were lots of stalls in bright colours displaying all sorts of crafted items, even a few enchantments. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I couldn’t find anything to eat until I came across a tavern just off the main square. Nice clean lines. Clear insect aversion wards. I stepped inside. The light globes were clear, but dim. Getting to the bar was like a maze, and I had to weave around tables and push past patrons tucking into their own lunches to get across the room.

“Excuse me could I order some food please?” I called out.

The comely waitress came over to me.

“Of course you can, Master Mage. What would you like?” Her smoky voice made me smile.

“Um. Could I have steak and vegetables and a glass of  silver juice please?” I asked.

“Find a seat. I’ll bring it over to you,” she replied.

“Thank you,”

I meandered back through the patrons until I found and sat at an empty table and waited, thinking over what had happened today. While lost in my reverie, my lunch arrived.

“That will be Three Knacks please,” The waitress said.

“Sorry I was distracted, here you go,” I said

I reached into my coat and pulled out my credit shard, a touch of magic transferred the funds

“Thanks, enjoy your meal,” She sauntered off through the throng of patrons.

My meal, while nothing remarkable, was filling and pleasant. The silver juice hit the spot. I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my time. I had finished my task for the day, I could practice my magic, but all I really wanted to do was go back to my new quarters and settle in. Having decided, I got up and headed for the door.

As I was wandering back to my quarters slowly taking in the view of the town I realized I’d never really paid it much attention. I noticed how clean and smooth the pavement was, how crisp the edges of the buildings were, even the wind was clean and fresh. The whole town radiated light and openness with such broad streets. My journey to my new home was quiet and brief.

As I walked in to my new apartment, I felt at a loss. I hadn’t had this much time to myself for a long time. I sat on my bed and took off my boots.

I should really be doing something. Anything. I survived the waves, I’d worked so hard to pass my exams, and for what? To deal with an abusive boss and petty problems. I know I’m just a junior mage, but I’m a prodigy! I’m five years ahead of anyone else my age.

As my thoughts went round in circles. My frustration reached higher, I realized something. This anger and frustration served no purpose. It was only my second day, my first real task and just like that my anger was redirected onto myself for wasting my time with petty thoughts instead of improving myself.

With the anger now channeled I felt renewed. Things were clearer. I must prove myself or I will never be a wizard.

I turned to my potted fern gently stroking the leaves infusing my earth magic to encourage gentle growth. The feel of the leaves made me feel more at home. Plants had always comforted me.

Feeling better, I went to the basin in the corner and activated the enchantment imbued in the faucet. They were in every modern building. The basin filled with cool clear water. As it reached the three-quarters mark the enchantment sensed it and shut off. Taking the basin over to my chair, I concentrated pouring my magic into the water. The surface rippled. I was trying something I never managed in my lessons: scrying. I could get an image to appear, but it wasn’t what I was looking for, again. Disappointed I used the water to wash up and headed to bed. I used a sliver of magic to turn out the light. I fell asleep hoping tomorrow would bring me the chance to prove myself.





34 thoughts on “Mage Life Chapter 1

  1. Pretty good as a starter, though sometimes the sentence structure seems pretty choppy. I would definitely enjoy reading more if you intend to continue writing.

    • I have a few more chapters, its been a part time project since just before Christmas. Thank you for your interest and feedback. I shall see about getting another chapter up soon.

  2. hi,
    thanks for the new story,
    got here through brennus

    the pendant seems as if you are writing about something you planed out in your head but forgot that we dont know anything about it

    “I could get an image to appear but it wasn’t what I was looking for, again.”
    seems like you are preparing something for the future, but not giving enough of a hint

    the size of the letters (we readers can change that) but more importantly the relationship between “space between the lines” and “letter size” (we readers can’t change that) seems to big

    in my experience it is easyer to read gray text on dark gray background

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Layout is a pain. I set up the WordPress today so I’m totally clueless on how to change the spacing. I’ll work on it.
      The pendant, you know just as much as Tristan does at this point. The scrying is pretty much him just practicing. Its not anything to worry over.
      I will be trying different colors for feel and readability, and would appreciate feedback.

  3. Interesting story, but you should probably do a quick read over for punctuation and capitalization. There’s too many for me to list individually.

  4. Okay, here we go:

    “it didn’t know that ,so we mages” -> The comma is misplaced.

    “Give me two minutes to get dressed.” -> I’m assuming our POV character (I don’t know his name yet) is saying this line, not the orb. If so, it should not have a newline.

    “The regional offices.” -> Pretty sure this shouldn’t have it’s own paragraph.

    “myself,once” -> Missing space.

    “Right I’m ready” -> Needs a comma after “Right.”

    “And off we went.” -> Sentence fragment. Should be part of the previous sentence.

    “He died because” -> This would have more dramatic impact with a comma after “died.”

    “mess of syllables, that” -> No comma needed here.

    “Sorry dad.” -> “Dad” should be capitalized.

    “You call me Senior Mage or Sir at work.” -> needs reformatting, quotes and commas. See: “You call me ‘Senior Mage,’ or ‘Sir,’ at work.”

    “Sorry Sir.” -> Needs a comma. Also, clarify who’s talking here. I was convinced the senior mage was the POV character’s father for a bit.

    “!?” -> Ooh, you’ve done it now. No multipunctuation, not on my watch. I hate the stuff. Reeks of amateurism. If you want emphasis, use ALLCAPS or, preferably, italics

    “Wow, where is my head today.” -> Is this supposed to be a question. If so, it needs a question-mark, even if it’s rhetorical.

    “I hate this man, doesn’t he know what I can do. was all I could think.” -> Needs reformatting. Use italics for internal dialog, and end internal dialog with commas instead of periods, though in this case, use a question mark. Otherwise, it just feels like a sudden tense change, which is confusing. Here’s my recommendation: “I hate this man. Doesn’t he know what I can do? was all I could think.”

    ” “Yes Sir” I voiced sullenly” -> This needs punctuation, after both “sir” and “sullenly.”

    “Dismissed. “ -> Extra space messed up quote direction.

    “I went carrying my rock.” -> Needs a comma after “went.”

    “great as I left, my second” -> I would split this sentence at the comma. It seems weird as a compound sentence.

    “So I turned my attention” -> Remove the “so.” It’s unnecessary and obstructive to the structure.

    “I will show him. Maybe he will give me a better task once he sees what I can do.” -> If this is internal dialog, make it italic. If not, it looks like a tense change, which is confusing.

    “this innocuous piece of flint” -> “This,” should be “the.”

    “incase” -> “In case” is two words.

    ” To the rock.” -> This doesn’t need its own line.

    “Really monster attacks? How is that a possible cause?!” -> The first sentence is odd. I would split it into “Really? Monster attacks?” The second has multipunctuation, which I’ve already explained I don’t like. Use italics for emphasis.

    “I exclaimed momentarily” -> This should not start a new line. It’s description of the speaking, so it is part of the same paragraph.

    “tall slim.” -> Needs a comma.

    “Even my faintly glowing eyes setting me apart.” -> This does not need to be in the passive tense. Make “setting” into “set.” Also, is glowing eyes just a wizard thing, or are they special to the POV character.

    “Large man shaped rocks” -> Needs a comma after “large.”

    “Where are they all?” -> italics

    “problem is?”I declared” -> Missing space.

    “bosses” -> This is plural. Should be ” Boss’ “. It looks weird, but that’s the rule.

    “investigate Sir” -> needs a comma.

    “my most authoritative voice which wasn’t that authoritative but I needed the practice.” -> Needs a few commas, after “voice,” and the second “authoritative.”

    “wasn’t very good but I passed .” -> Needs a comma after “good,” and there’s an extra space after “passed.”

    “like earth but” -> capitalize.

    “That is odd, the earth and stone had no trace of powered enchantment.” -> Italics, and also the lack of contraction feels forced. Use “that’s,” unless it’s deliberate.

    “water in it!” -> Needless exclamation point. This seems weird, because this shouldn’t be really shocking and dramatic. He just seems really confused, so the exclamation point is unnecessary.

    “enchant it, to summon water” -> needless comma.

    “Proudly I declared “ -> needs a comma after “declared,” and has an extra space.

    “An hour later we were done” -> We? There’s more than one person working on it?

    “it was done, Just in time” -> “Just” does not need capitalization.

    “I bid farewell” -> “Bid” should be past tense, or “bade.” Easy mistake to make, because it’s irregular, but still important.

    “my pendant, It had warmed. the pendant ” -> Two capitalization errors here. “It” should not have caps, “The” should.

    “it was nothing special. But a look” -> combine clauses. This should be one sentence with a comma.

    “my tests, it seemed” -> Separate clauses. This should be two sentences.

    “stomach rumbled distracting me” -> needs a comma after “rumbled.”

    “Food. What do I want?” -> Italics.

    “a tavern, just off” -> Comma unnecessary.

    “Nice clean lines, clear insect repulsions I stepped inside.” -> Pretty sure this should be two sentences. Also, “Repulsions,” is not a word. There’s probably a better noun for that.

    “Going to the bar weaving through the tables, was like a maze, patrons all tucking in to their own lunches.” -> Needs restructuring. For example: “Getting to the bar was like a maze, and I had to weave around tables and push past patrons tucking into their own lunches to get across the room.

    “my lunch arrived” -> needs a period.

    “Knacks” -> Hehehe.

    “credit shard ,a touch” -> comma goes before the space.

    “realised I’d never really” -> “Realised” should be “realized,” and there is an extra space after “I’d.”

    “day ,my” -> Another misplaced comma.

    “channelled now I felt” -> Needs a comma after “now,” and “channelled” should be “channeled.”

    “I must prove myself or I would never be a wizard.” -> Inconsistent tense. I would make “would” into “will” and make this sentence italic to show it’s internal dialog.

    “the feel of the leaves” -> Capitalize.

    “at home, plants had” -> Split at the comma, make it a period.

    “Feeling better. I went” -> I’d combine these, make the period a comma.

    “the corner, activating the” -> More passive tense. I would avoid this, because it is, as it says on the tin, passive and uninteresting. Only use it if A happens while B is happening. Make this “…the corner and activated the…”

    “the basin” -> Capitalize.

    “clear water as it reached” -> Missing period. Needs one after “water.”

    “my chair I concentrated” -> Needs a comma after “chair.”

    “the water, the surface rippled, I was” -> Both of these should be periods, not commas.

    “lessons, scrying” -> Comma should be a colon.

    “to appear but it” -> Needs a comma after “appear.”

    “A sliver of magic turning off the light Hoping tomorrow” -> Double space and missing period after “light,” and the first sentence needs rewriting, as the subject is unclear. Ex: “I used a sliver of magic to turn out the light, hoping tomorrow…”

    Wow, sorry for all that. I didn’t expect to find quite that much- I kinda go into editron mode and don’t know when to stop. Anyway, really solid writing, but you’re making a lot of basic punctuation mistakes. Do be careful about that, though I know that without someone else reading it before posting it can be difficult to catch all of them. Trust me, you’re actually off to a really good start, even with all the errors I found above. I like the high-magic setting, and I’m really interested to see where you take this.

      • Heh, I’ve seen a lot of that kind of thing. Something you have to work on I guess. At least you know enough to put new dialog on a new line- I read something recently in which the author didn’t know to do that, and boy, was that a pain to read.

        I dunno why, punctuation isn’t something I’ve ever had much of a problem with- my big issue was the “show don’t tell” thing I’m probably going to pass on to you at some point, if you haven’t heard of it already.

      • Ah i know that one, the brennus irc, has brought me up to date on tvtropes. I’m more old school. i didnt grow up using computers all the time. so I can write on paper, punctuation, spelling and all that jazz just happen. having to think about it makes it all kinds of awkward. even capitals, the shift feels wrong.

      • You’ll get used to it, I’m sure. It’s weird to have to do it all manually, I’ll give you that, but it just becomes habit of you remember to do it (though it can become habit if you do it wrong, too, so be careful about that.)

  5. So they can create artificial, self aware, intelligent life. So many potential moral, and horrifying philosophical issues if they really think about it. No AI uprising though if they aren’t particularly intelligent. Interesting story. Could use a bit more description on the characters. I have no idea what the man looks like.

  6. I do get your point. I’ll try to keep things clearer. If it becomes more of an issue I am happy to change things, as you know this is my first attempt. Hopefully you will stick with me and see if it gets better.

  7. Cracking start there. A very nicely realised world with plenty of hints as to further plot. common place magic and all the uses are very well thought through and coupled with a pleasantly irreverent inner monologue(not sure if that was intended but it works well and some of the phrasing is nice).
    Writing in the first person is always a swine but you’ve managed it quite well, couple of things to keep an eye on;
    Replication- I have the same problem here, you get a thought centered around an idea and one word sums it up, that same word then pops up three or four times in the next paragraph. It’s a difficult one but if you can bear it in mind and change the wording it make your writing a lot stronger.
    Exposition- This is my other personal pet hate with my writing. You’ve clearly got a fully functioning universe/world here which is great. Just beware the temptation to explain why everything is the way it is. Some things need explaining (and writing in first person gives you an edge there because the character can do it, though it might be worth thinking of who he is talking to and do they need to know) but you might be better off showing the reader what is happening rather than trying to explain the why of it. Like I say it is difficult and something I still struggle with. On the upside, once you get the hang of it you writing becomes a hell of a lot stronger and more organic in he way scenes/moments happen and change, different things occur and it becomes a different thing.

    On the whole though, well thought out and well constructed, don’t worry about structuring it. I tend to write better when I have a particular scene/moment to work towards allowing me to fill in the space between where the story is and where I want it to go to without stressing about the overall plot.
    keep it up!

    • Thanks. I will try to take on board your advice. Its very similar to my own internal monologue, “show more, talk less. why would he say that? shut up,” Its like that everytime i sit and write.

  8. I love the picture on your site and I enjoyed your story. The formatting is a little rough but it sounds like you are new to WordPress so that is probably why. Hang in there and happy writing 🙂

  9. You should really read over your chapters and ask yourself if each paragraph flows into the next. I was reading quite a few here where a question naturally occurred to me, but it wasn’t answered in the next. As your telling your story you need to keep track of what questions the reader has and answer them as they occur. You tell your story, but your story will naturally raise questions, you need to answer them with description as you move forward.

    Someone else mentioned it as well, the pendant. I know that we know as much as tristan does, but we don’t know that we only know as much as tristan does. That’s the problem here. When we read about the pendant, the question naturally occurs to us, but you just stop, you don’t say “It’s a mysterious pendant I made that I don’t even understand myself”. Instead you just talk about Tristan being hungry.

    There was comment about old ladies wanting to “fatten Tristan up” with no apparent explanation or hints as to why.

    You change what you call the Task Stone half way through the story. From Rock to Task Stone. Yes I realize Tristan is calling it a rock while other people are calling it a Task Stone. However, it’s odd that the more ignorant sounding description is coming from the one who has related expertise to the Task Stone. A paragraph explaining why would go a long ways.

    The Orb was specifically sent to fetch Tristan, however it referred to him as “Mage”. This is odd. I would expect that the Orb would call him by name since it was sent out for a specific person.

    I don’t like the wording of your first sentence. The first sentence is the most important sentence in your whole story, so I’m being extra picky here. The words “Oh boy” are old fashioned. The first thing I thought of when I read it was ‘Am I in The Wizard of Oz?’ Also, the sentence itself is boring. As I said before, the first sentence is the most important, and you need to catch the readers interest right there. As an example, I would start the story at when the assignment is handed out, and my first sentence would be “I was promised Fire-Breathing Dragons, and gorgeous Water Fairies, but I got stuck with irrigation instead. ” The point is to start with something attention grabbing that also hints at what is going to be great about your story.

    Even with the first sentence as it is, the paragraph below it also fails to answer the question that sentence brings up. Tristan said “not this again”, why is he upset? I understand that he was woken up, but is that why he’s upset? Is it because he did an assignment from an orb before and got screwed by it?

    • The questions are there for a reason. If I answer them what is going to keep someone reading?
      I know unanswered questions keep me going through stories.
      I can not fill up the first chapter with explanations.

      Thank you for your comment. I will think about it when I revisit the chapter.

    • It’s the first chapter. I don’t want everything explained in the first chapter..
      For one, all that exposition would be full. Second, it wouldn’t leave any mystery to the story. What’s the point in reading on if everything’s been explained already?

      Answering questions as they occur is the worst thing you could do as a storyteller…

    • While many of your points are valid, I would like to bring up one issue on which I believe you are mistaken (I apologize, I seem to have gotten wordy again.)

      I would like you to imagine a piece of classic literature, let’s say ‘Heart of Darkness,’ since that’s been on my mind recently. If every question was answered as it came up, for example “what evil lurks in the heart of man?” was answered as it came up, the book would be a) really boring and b) really short (well, shorter.) What evil lurks in the heart of man? All of it. Book done. Rather, the book takes the reader on a journey from question to answer, never telling the reader explicitly, but rather showing the reader the evidence they need to make their own conclusion, which makes the impact much more powerful (as illustrated in “Inception.”) In heart of darkness, the best answer we get is Kurtz whispering “The horror, the horror!” before he dies, and the rest is left up to the reader. It never even answers the questions it raises: it shows the questions, shows evidence in one direction or another, then leaves the rest up to interpretation.

      A story, by definition, should not answer all of its questions immediately. Leaving the reader wondering what will happen next is the only thing that keeps people reading. You want to know how Hamlet’s going to stop his uncle? Too bad! You have to wait. You want to know who killed Samuel Ratchett? Then don’t whine about the murder not confessing and presenting himself to be handcuffed! Just read the rest of the book! If you have questions that follow logically from the text of the story, I assure you they are there deliberately and the author plans to answer them, and leaving them unanswered generates intrigue- the literary equivalent of dissonance. As a musician I know dissonance can be beautiful, and the longer it hangs in the air before it’s resolved, the better the resolution feels.

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