Revision #113 or something like that.
It’s just that pesky first line and the next few paragraphs. So small, yet so important. They must set the mood, the language, the character…they must be compelling, moving, tempting you to continue turning the page. I sat over lunch today with a notebook and pen while I scribbled, doodled, crossed out, ripped, wadded up, and started over again until I finally settled on this. What do you think, compared to the old opening here?
He never hated his magic until it compelled him to kill.
From the broken shadows of his temple, the once all-powerful priest watched the encroacher attempt to work the same doomed magic. Brilliant ruby pooled in the pocked basin of the altar and overflowed, streaming the hand-carved stone in vibrant filigree. The blood glowed like molten rock hot from the earth’s heart, releasing magic into the night.
The priest shuddered, his skin crawling in the caress of power. His nostrils flared to catch the faint tantalizing scent of sweet copper. Such temptation. He tightened his grip on the starved jaguar pacing within him. Such power.
The city once known as the Mouth of Creation had kept his secrets for a thousand years. Now he must kill this man to protect that forbidden knowledge.
Keeping to the shadows, the priest called out, “As Gatekeeper of Chi’Ch’ul, I command you to leave my city or die.”