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Son of the Admiral (from Columbus Lost in Paradise)

The death cart's late and I’m in a devil of a hurry. Zigzagging my way through morbid gawkers, I see the bodies piled high like marketplace fish, all gaping mouths and frozen stares. Ay, I hate Sevilla, so-called port city to the New World. I hate its quaint narrow streets; hate its charming three-story apartments; hate its gleaming river. Most of all I hate its hot stench, which today is so foul that horses tremble and people faint. But not me.

There’s no time. My father the Admiral likens tardiness to stealing. Crouching like a sprinter, I'm ready to blow pass the stuck cart and its idiot driver, rapido. “Uno, dos—ugh!”

Spinning around, I'm confronted by an enormous, grinning mustache. Instantly hands sweep over my shoulders and down my sleeves. I freeze--the man’s face is so close I can taste the raw onions on his breath, and I feel callused fingers wrapping themselves around my wrists.


GeoEeds's picture

With this version, I'm hoping to increase the tension by using present tense and upping the stakes.

GeoEeds's picture

I've add the year and location, also tried to make the Son of the Admiral more in "scene".

SAL's picture

I also like this revision. It goes straight into a scene with lots of action.

The opening read much better to me without the part where the big man lifts up the MC and he waves to the crowd - I found that part a bit distracting.

I disagree with the other reviewers. The opening is fun and fast paced and could go in many different and interesting directions. I think older YA's, as well as adults, could enjoy it. The name "Señor Mostacho Grande" is a little campy though :-)

The writing in this opening is superb. However, I think the appropriate audience for such a story will probably be elementary school aged, not YA. In any case, I'm sure it will be an exciting and well told story.

GeoEeds's picture

Thank you for reading my submission and your comments. Yes, it's for the younger YA readers, say 11-14.
I'll work on that sentence. Also the death cart reappears about a third of the way through the story.

Shuja Dalip's picture

Geo, your writing is very effective in painting a vivid picture of the opening scene. Your first sentence is great. Unfortunately, I personally did not find the scene very engaging. It seemed a bit cliched. But I'm a HS senior, and I'm guessing this story is targeted to a younger audience? If you're actually targeting 13+, I suggest to focus on more unique aspects/details of your story, like the death cart (I'd definitely want to know more about that!). Also, this sentence didn't sound quite right: "...morning porridge out through my nose."