by Wes Penre, November 27, 2020
This is from the first unedited draft. When we enter the scene, Holgar Stronghand, who is one of the side characters in a subplot, is visiting the city of Ringhall in the Divine Kingdom of Norfold to join the military. He has just ended a visit with the Prince of Norfold and is reflecting back on when he first arrived in Ringhall..
Holgar had never been to a big town or a city before. Compared to Eldholt, Ringhall was gigantic! When he first entered, he had been greatly impressed. In the midst of the city ran a river called Falluin—raging forcefully in certain places while being tantalizingly calm in others. Fishing was important in Ringhall, and as Holgar had been allowed to pass through the guards by the moat, from first having to walk across a long bridge intersecting the river, being escorted passed the iron gates, he was met with a fantastic scenery. The buildings were sometimes huge, and from Holgar’s perspective, they reached to the sky. Almost all of them seemed to be built of yellow and white gold and marble. Even the streets were made of shining marble, exquisite yet massive, and when the light was precisely angled, he could see his own reflection bouncing off the street. Some buildings rose toward the sky, looking like towers, while certain houses were built on top of each other, with some of the upper houses reaching further out, so the tenants could get an exclusive look at the river below.
The river split the city in two. Holgar got a vision of some gigantic God, whom with his or her mighty hands had put a model of a city upon a river, divided it in two, and moved each part to either side of the water. In fact, he was not too far from the truth. Upon the river, fishermen and other citizens were paddling up and down the water—some of them to catch fish, while others seemed to use it to move faster from location to location within the city.
However, the most magnificent was the palace. When Holgar saw it for the first time, he thought he was dreaming. In the middle of the city, a huge royal building made of crystal was rising, higher than any other structure. Multiple stairs were ascending to an overhanging bridge, built fifty feet above street level, leading toward the crystal building. The railings were decorated with pure yellow gold and various symbols, also made of gold. As Holgar had approached the palace, the sunbeams, reflecting on the crystal building, created a prism, which made it look like it was constantly shifting in all the colors of the rainbow. Holgar was told by one of the guards about a legend saying that both the palace and the city were created by Angels long ago, in the Age of Twilight. The guard told him this was the reason why their country was called The Divine Kingdom of Norfold.
After having left Prince Xandur’s office, Holgar was escorted in the opposite direction from which he had entered Ringhall. They descended through many sets of stairs, until they reached a level closer to the river. From there, they took off in an eastly direction, until they stopped before a massive wall with a ten-foot gate, guarded by watchmen, sitting in towers on either side. The approaching escort was expected, however, and knights from the inside opened the gates and let them into the military facility. This was the last day of Holgar’s former life and the first day of his journey into the unknown.”
If you feel inclined, please leave a comment below, and tell me what you think. Let me know if you like it, and if you have any constructive criticism for me, it is also much appreciated!
20 thoughts on “Excerpt from “The Book of Secrets,” Chapter 8 (First Draft)”
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Thank you! I greatly appreciate your feedback!
Very descriptive and tantalizing …it’s easy to imagine the scenary and get into the characters emotions…
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Thanks a lot for your feedback, Bluebell 🙂 .
Bluebell, are you serious or are you just telling Wes what you think he wants to hear? You really found it easy to “get into the characters emotions”? What emotions were those? Hmmm?
There was not one emotive description regarding Holgar to indicate how he was feeling in this scene other than “impressed” at the very beginning. Not one. I have NO idea what this character was feeling as he was looking at all the gold and marble, crystals, and staircases. I don’t even know how he felt as he approached a massive ten-foot wall which was being guarded by watchmen in towers on both sides! Did he feel nothing as he looked at that? This was the first time he has visited a city!
I know these are only very tiny excerpts from a first draft and Wes is planning to write and reveal more in his books, so let’s save the false praise and wait until he releases something more substantial. Telling him that his writing in this very brief passage is “tantalizing” and “very descriptive” is essentially blowing smoke up his ass. It isn’t. You’re not helping him by giving him sycophantic remarks like this. He’s going to be disappointed if he’s under the impression that his writing is extraordinary and he doesn’t get the attention he expects as a result. He deserves honesty for what he is trying to do. It’s a noble attempt to bring his research to a new audience and in a new way that he has never tried before, not just rehash it for those who are already established followers.
Have some dignity and allow Wes to keep his. I believe I have greatly overestimated the audience who may read this story if this is considered”tantalizing” writing. Wes, I apologize. I assumed you did not want to write for a juvenile audience considering the subject matter and mature spiritual nature, but you may have more success with listing this book as teen or children’s fantasy. I’m serious.
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Thank you for your opinion, Evan. I know what I’m doing, though…And please don’t patronize others for THEIR opinions–at least not here on my blog (referring to Bluebell). What right do you have to tell others what to think and feel and patronize them for it? That, in conjunction with the insult toward me is very arrogant at best. So, if you feel or think that it is mainly for children and teenagers, I do not believe this book is for you, anyway. Just to indicate something like that is an insult, and your “criticism” ceases to be helpful.
However, I learned something important from our conversations back and forth, which is that I should continue exactly in the direction where my inspiration and intuition are taking me–where I feel my enthusiasm. So, I’m continuing the way I’ve intended since I started. I don’t need anymore “analyses” from you personally, however. I’m good. Constructive criticism is a very good thing and should inspire–negative criticism and insults usually don’t (although they did for me because I could see through the façade). Your intention, on the other hand, was never to help, only to express your “superiority.”
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I apologize, Bluebell. Sincerly.
With all due respect, Mr. Penre, you do not know what you are doing and I’m only trying to help by pointing that out to you. You’ve been surrounded by people on your myriad of blog sites and multiple Facebook accounts that are only praising you and telling you how wonderful you are. While you may be a great person, that doesn’t make you a great writer and I assumed this was a serious endeavor of yours and not just another series of blog posts. You know how to create websites and write blog posts, I’ll give you credit for that. It’s a good start for most people, but being able to write posts for a blog does not make you a good author. I don’t want you to feel let down when you get real criticism from people who may actually pay money for something they expect to be at least good writing. You want people to take you seriously and buy your book? Again, with all due respect to you, you might want to take a writing class or two. Great writers aren’t just born knowing how to write great novels. It seems that way and that is the result of honing a craft. Blog posts don’t count and neither does gathering news articles or the research of others into cohesive e-books. Good luck to you, Wes, as I have wished you all along. Do yourself a favor and don’t choose a Beta from your Facebook friends or Patreon memberships. You’ll never get an honest appraisal of just how good you really are or aren’t. Seek objective reviews and get very thick skin so you can learn to listen when people tell you that your writing isn’t always wonderful and not take it personally. Welcome to the world of writing. If it’s just a hobby, keep it free. If you want people to buy your book, then you need to give them their money’s worth.
There was no emotive language in that passage and when I pointed it out, you accuse me of insulting you. You are using this project for your own gain, otherwise, you would want to produce the best story possible and would take all the help you can get. I didn’t offend anything but your ego, Mr. Penre and you know it. You’re just embarrassed because you project yourself as some great writer and having the way you accept false praise pointed out exposes your motives. You’re not ready for the writing world, Mr. Penre.
I hear you. But you’re not ready to give advice on the matter, either, I’m afraid. Thanks for your concern, but I’ll be perfectly fine. You have expressed YOUR opinion, which is how I look at it. I can take your opinion or leave it–my choice. I’ve been around long enough to know I can’t please everybody, and that’s not my intention either, no matter if I’m writing fiction or sharing my research on the Internet. Why would I feel bad about publishing something (a novel in this case) that I feel strongly about? I certainly don’t–not the least…
I wasn’t going to include the following, but I have had two English professors telling me that they like my writing style and that I have potentials as a writer. What’s your credentials other than your opinion? But at the end of the day, I don’t care what professors think or don’t think…I’m just a writer, and a writer writes.
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You’re wrong. Constructive criticism isn’t meant to inspire. It is the act of giving specific, valid, and well-reasoned advice or suggestions to change with the intention to improve the final production. This is one of the reasons that I suggested you may want to take a writing class. If you did, you would know that. If you don’t want constructive criticism, then don’t ask for it. I think what you are really looking for is called compliments. Compliments inspire.
I don’t need to prove my credentials to you. I’m not the one trying to write a novel and asking people to give me their opinions about it as I go along. Do other people need to provide their credentials to prove their expertise in telling you that this is good writing?
My opinions about your writing are not “negative”. I’m suggesting ways you could improve so that your writing appeals to a more mature and wider audience. Right now, you’re writing is immature and needs work, but it could improve. This isn’t an insult, it’s an attempt at constructive criticism, and I gave you examples of where I felt it could be improved.
That last paragraph you wrote says to me, “People who are smarter than you think I’m awesome. I’m going to pretend to act like I don’t care and I don’t want to tell you this but I really DO want to tell you because I’ve been triggered and I need to deflect this and try to intimidate you so you will go away.” I can see through a façade, too.
I’m not intimidated. I do know more about this than you, but that doesn’t make me superior or give me some sort of complex. I’m sure there are things that you know more than others. That you think I must feel superior by doing this tells me a lot of what you think about your OWN feelings of superiority. What you project onto others is what you feel about yourself. I learned that from listening to your videos. Do you not take your own advice and self-help?
One more thing, and then I’ll leave you alone. I know you’re feeling defensive and I’ll back off. You wrote: “Through the midst of the city ran a river called Falluin…” You aren’t using the word midst correctly and it doesn’t make sense. IN the midst means in the middle of something. The river can’t run THROUGH the midst, but it can be IN the midst of something.
It seems like you are trying to use a mix of language styles by using words like midst, which is more suited to a very formal and old-fashioned manner of speaking, and then writing things like “Fishing was big…” That last one is an idiom and almost too much like modern American slang. Fishing cannot be “big” but it can be “an important and popular activity that was given priority by nearly every resident, young and old, of Ringhall” and the language styles would be more complimentary.
“Upon the river, fishermen and other citizens were peddling up and down the water…” This also isn’t correct. Upon the river? Peddling? Peddling means selling something. They were selling things “up and down the water”? I understand that English isn’t your native language, but you are choosing to write this in English, so people are going to expect to read correct word usage, at the very least. These are just a few examples and there are others in this short excerpt. All I wanted to do was to point out to your readers that they should be seeing these mistakes and not telling you that it’s all “Well done” because it isn’t.
I don’t even know why you are asking for feedback on such a raw and unedited first draft, anyway. Why publish these excerpts for people to comment on? What’s the point? Why don’t you wait until it’s more polished? Why don’t you wait until you have published the finished book and then go promote it to get feedback? Why are you drip-feeding your followers these throwaway scraps of something that may end up in the trash and completely different when the book is finished? When I ask myself why you are doing this, your need to get attention and praise from this is the only motive I can come up with, so of course, I question it.
And you don’t have to keep responding to me. I’m not doing this to get a reaction or even a response from you. I’m not trying to be your friend or have you thank me. That’s not why I’m doing this. I really don’t care if you don’t like me. You still deserve honesty and respect. I would do the same for anyone else who was putting forth a sincere effort to begin writing a book, and I have done the same. You aren’t the first. The spiritual nature of your story tends to make it a little more personal and important to me, but that’s it. I don’t need to know that I’ve been “heard” or anything like that, if that is what you think I’m going after with these comments.
“Why are you drip-feeding your followers these throwaway scraps of something that may end up in the trash and completely different when the book is finished?”
This is not an easy thing on my part–it’s more about vulnerability than praise, i.e. of being human and showing that it’s okay. About being authentic and genuine–well, when people are, it’s often not recognized. It’s just considered odd–at least at first. I am giving people my progress from beginning to end (not only in regards to my novel). I am myself like an open book, and those who are interested can see how a random person (me) proceeds over time, step by step, so that’s almost a novel in itself.
As you might have noticed with my work, very little of what I’ve written over time has been deleted–it’s still available, and it’s a reason for that. It would have been much easier to delete what’s no longer as relevant to me as it was when it was written, due to progression–but that was the information that led me to the next step. Most researchers would delete the old stuff, but I don’t. The same thing goes with my draft, which will certainly go through changes over time–thus, the “first draft” extension to the blog title. It’s my way of working, and the Internet gives me the opportunity to do so. I understand fully well that’s not for everybody. If it was about needing praise, this would definitely not be the way to go about it, because I’m really putting myself out there, naked. I have no idea beforehand whether it’s going to be praised or not. I am aware it’s probably going to be both.
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I wrote a much longer reply, but decided not to keep it posted. It would only prolong our discussions back and forth. Yes, I am sure there are many flaws when it comes to language usage, and some of that is not noticeable to me because English is my second language, as you point out. Some of it will probably be noticeable to me when I’m in the editing phase of the book. However, an editor will see these errors and point them out once the story is finished. After all, I’m not the first English writer where English is not the first language. The first draft is only a matter of getting the story down–the editing part comes afterward–both my own editing and that of a real editor.
It’s not the criticism that bothers me–it’s the way it’s delivered. There are more constructive ways of doing it, IMO. A person can criticize someone else’s work without at the same time putting it down. What I mean is that you basically told me that I am not a writer, and if I must write, at least publish it for free to not deceive my readers. I think this is also derogatory to the readers, who I believe should be capable of making choices what to read or not to read. Also, what engages one reader might not engage another. I am very encouraged and enthusiastic about what I’m writing, but I know it’s a lot of work before the final version, and I will publish when I feel it’s ready to be published. This includes after having had input from others, as well.
I am not yet finished with the first draft of the first book, so no real editing has been done. I am aware that the excerpts I’m posting will not be the final versions, and I will not continue bombarding people with excerpts–that’s not my intention. I will post a few, just to show the potential readers what is currently on my mind and where I am in the process of writing this story.
With that, I’m leaving you alone, too.
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I would enjoy reading it. Well done.
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Thank you, ieva!
Well i blows out all the god stuff,prince,king,royal or angels long ago… all thos titles like queens and prince is on moot point.. all these gods stuff doesnt serve the evolution of humanity.. all of it..
Thanks for sharing the little excerpts from your book. Like the first one, I enjoyed reading this. I’m looking forward to reading more; then eventually, the book itself. One question about the illustration(s) that accompany each excerpt: Are these images someone created for you or images you have found that seem to correlate with the excerpt? As I visualized the city/Kingdom and the palace mentioned in this excerpt, I could easily relate what I saw in my mind with the illustration you provided. Any way, thanks for sharing. I, personally, appreciate being a part of your “journey” in production of this book.
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Hi lindi, and thank you for reading! I have had second thoughts about the pictures because they are just pics from the Internet, loosely resembling my own vision but not exactly. It might actually be better not to have related pictures attached, so the reader can build their own mental images. What I will probably do from the next excerpt and on is to use a generic picture for the excerpts–the same pic for all of them. I will think about it 🙂
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You have no right to tell others what is right and what is wrong. Always remember the 4 laws of the universe before spouting your egoistic ideas on other..
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You are bringing tears to my eyes, Wes! Which doesn’t happen often other than when I’m deeply pondering about MOM and feel a breath-stopping tightening in my chest! Because I’m getting very impatient to go back home and can’t bear the pain of this ‘supposed’ separation with her! That brings way too much pain! Anyhow, please let us poor people (financially speaking) know, how much longer to wait to get my hands on your book? Getting quite impatient about that too… As usual my love the size of sky for you, Ariel and all of the wonderful forum friends and supporters you got… I don’t remember who, might be Lindi, or Sahib or Barbelo said somewhere in the forum that you guys all are the part of the real soul family. Please, count me in! I can’t join but I always do feel a very strong connection to everyone of your beautiful forum… 💖💖💖
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Dear Neo! Of course you’re welcome into our community–we would love to have you there :). There are times when we wish we could accept people onto the forum and Patreon for free, but we can’t because it wouldn’t be fair to others, and we need to survive financially, too. But sometimes, it’s tempting.
Please consider yourself being part of the group, Neo. I have no reservations whatsoever. What you CAN do, if you want to, is to visit our forum at https://wespenreproductions.boards.net/. There are threads where Guests can post and read for free, and those threads are often visited by the forum members. We would be happy to see you there, and if you feel like participating, you are most welcome to do so!
When it comes to the book, it will take a while, I’m afraid. I am working on it every day, though, but it also needs to be beta-read and edited afterward–both by me and a real editor. But I will keep everybody posted about the progress.
My best to you,