A Taste of Kota

Well all, I’ve decided it’s time you saw Bria in her own book and not the many various ‘scribbles’ I’ve dragged her into.  This is a couple page long excerpt, not my best but a good one to start with because it’s fairly early in the book.  There are some descriptions pulled from it and since it isn’t in context the beginning is a little off, but oh well, it’s rough draft!

Please tell me if you spot any punctuation errors, I especially struggle with that in dialogue, which is the main focus of this scene.

* * * * *

Every line of him contradicted another. He was built like a farmer—strong but lean—and his tan, muscled body agreed with that. However his looks suggested otherwise. He had the expressions of a prince, an arrogant set in his jaw and a strong, cocky brow. His arms carried the faintest of lines from habitually wearing arm bracelets. His messy blond hair suggested hours of sun-bleaching though. What was he? Not a nobleman, he couldn’t be. But he didn’t look like a farmer. He was too self-assured.

There was a bemused look in his eyes as he watched her and she knew instantly that he was very aware of her own gaze taking him in. Still she didn’t drop her eyes, even when he moved toward her. He walked like a nobleman, perfectly balanced with a smooth stride and in no great hurry. But he was still too lean to be rich. He was probably just a successful farmer with too much spare time and a good mirror. Obviously he was aware of his good looks.

He was exactly the type of person that was a little bit too much fun to outwit, cocky and far too confident of himself, so she let him saunter over. She didn’t care if he thought her bold, her gaze wouldn’t drop and she wasn’t going to move away as wisdom asked her to.

“Do you always make a habit of staring at strangers so…” he searched vaguely for the right word as he leaned on the wall beside her.

“Boldly?”  She filled in for him.  “No, I don’t.  I confess I was thinking that you are a walking contradiction.”

His eyebrows shot up.  “Oh?  How so?”

“Most young men of your class would deem me too lowly to stare at.”

“Oh and what is my ‘class’ by your best guess?”

“It doesn’t matter.  Any class is higher than me.  Unless you’re a slave…?”

He looked unbothered by her suggestion.  “Perhaps I am.  But what slave bears no scars from previous beatings?”

Bria inwardly frowned, he had a point and this was not going the way she had thought.  She continued anyway.  “So you’re not a slave.  What are you?”

“Perhaps I’m a great lord, out of my palace for the day to escape the demands of my life.  And perhaps I was so entranced by your beauty I decided to come see if your personality matches your charms.”

She smiled sarcastically, “And does it? Or do you find that my guttersnipe manners bore you?”

“No.  In fact I’ve decided to sweep you off your feet, rescue you from your hard life, and ride off into the sunset with you.”

“You wish.”

He flashed her a hurt look, “What?  You don’t believe me?”

“One, no lord wants to be rid of his pampered life and two, I wouldn’t let anyone spirit me away in the first place.”

“Okay, you caught me,” he wasn’t the least bit sorry, “I lied.  Of course I’m no lord, however I’m enjoying the idea of spiriting you away more every second.”

“My apologies sir, I believe you’ve overlooked the fact that I could well be previously engaged.”

“I was hoping the ring you wear is only decorative.”

Bria shot him a look of feigned horror, “Oh, so you admit to seeing my ring, but still you attempt to spirit me away?”

He grinned but made no reply.

“Not only do you admit it, you refuse to be embarrassed?”  Her eyebrows went up suspiciously, “I ought to tell my fiancé, and you can be sure he’ll straighten you out.”

He folded his arms and his grin grew wider, “You forgot one crucial detail.”

“And what’s that?”

“You don’t have a fiancé.”

Bria had to admit, he was good.  Most wouldn’t have guessed.  “Oh?  How are you sure?”

“No engaged girl would ever stare at a stranger so boldly.  And if you were engaged, you’d be wearing nicer clothes than street rags.”  His eyes sparkled with amusement.

“Is there something wrong with street rags?”  She batted her eyes innocently.  Stop flirting with him! Her thoughts cried out at her instinctual movements.  He probably thought she wanted him to run away with her after her behavior.

“Not on a guttersnipe. But if you were engaged you and your wiles would have chosen someone…richer.  In which case you would be dressed in nicer clothes.”

“What if I’m engaged and taking the day off?”

“You yourself told me anyone who gave up a pampered life was crazy.”  He pointed out.

How was he doing this?  He was running circles around her, playing her in her own game!  “So I did.”  She admitted.  “Lucky for me, our conversation so far is completely theoretical.”

He seemed amused by that.  “Lucky you indeed.  Come on.  I’m hungry.”  He grabbed her arm and Bria tensed.  “Well?  Come on!  You want something to eat don’t you?”

Food.  It wasn’t often she got offered free food in any quantity, much less a meal as he was seemingly offering.  She hesitated.  Her instincts cried out, ‘don’t go!’ but her stomach begged otherwise.  The stranger tugged her hand once more and she gave in.

“See?  Not so hard.  Where do you want to eat?”

Did he always speak and move with such ease?  Rarely had she met someone so confident that couldn’t easily be outsmarted and put in his place.  “I don’t care.  You’re buying it, you pick.”

He led her to the market, easily keeping up his commentary on anything he saw or heard.  “That wall there, my father was the overseer of.” Or, “I’m working there next year.”  By the time he’d picked a stall that was selling fresh bread Bria was busy reevaluating him.  He couldn’t be much older than her, perhaps eighteen to her sixteen?  Yet he was obviously educated well.  It didn’t always show in his manner of speech, but every so often she noted the way he knew something he shouldn’t have if he was the smith’s son he claimed to be.  It struck her that she didn’t know his name as the baker handed them two hot slices of his bread and the resulting coins were passed over.  As they turned she voiced the thought.

“Jarren,” he answered like he had everything else.  Easily.  “And now, you’ve managed to gain an advantage over me.”

“How so?”  She moved away from him as she avoided running into another market goer.

When she drew close again he answered, “You have learned my name, but I have failed to learn yours.”

“Easily remedied, it’s Bria.”  She took a bite of the bread, its warm and flakey deliciousness filling her mouth.

His eyes ran over her again, “It suits you.”

She shrugged, “The person makes the name, not the other way around.  My name doesn’t define me.”

“No, but it describes you well.”  Jarren stopped in front of another stall and bought a wedge of cheese and a large piece of chocolate.  Bria’s mouth watered.  She hadn’t eaten chocolate since Seb had first insisted she try it.

Seb had always liked making her try things.  Crab, chocolates, fruits she’d never even heard of, lobsters, special cheeses, he liked making her taste them.  It didn’t matter what really, if it was rich she’d likely tasted it.  But that was before he left.

She shook away her memories of him before the others could flood in.  Not now.  Not here and not now.  Later, then she would let them come.  Instead she hurried to speak and distract herself.  “Do you know a good place to sit?”

“None that I feel like going to.”

She glared at him a moment.  He would force her to show him one of her hiding places.  Of course.  “This way.”

© 2011 JinxWritings

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About Jinx

I'm a writer, what else is there to tell?

9 thoughts on “A Taste of Kota

  1. Kay Camden says:

    This is fabulous! The dialogue is great – easy to follow and natural sounding. I see you know not to overuse dialogue tags (which is a pet peeve of mine). Awesome.

    “He flashed her a hurt look,” should have a period, not a comma.

    That’s the only punctuation I found, but it was hard to pay attention to punctuation because I was pulled into the story! Very well done, I would definitely read on. If there was a hint of danger here I would be putty in your hands. 🙂

    I also saw two minor POV slips, but I’m not sure if you want me to comment on that stuff so I’ll control myself. 🙂

    Is this from a full novel? How many words?

    • Jinx says:

      I’m so glad the dialogue sounds good to you, I like this so much better than my other stuff but on my own it’s hard to tell if it’s really good. Although anywhere that I write with Bria it’s very easy to write her dialogue.

      Believe me, there will be so much more ‘danger’ added later, I’m not exactly sure where this scene will fall yet, but most likely it’s in one of the first few chapters.

      Feel free to point those out, I’m not the greatest about thinning the POV stuff. =)

      Honestly I have very little idea of how long this will end up being, it’s part of the first bit of Kota, which could end up as a trilogy–most likely–or it could turn out as a VERY long book if I thin the plot a little.

      Thanks for the read and the comment!

  2. Kay Camden says:

    Danger… ooooh… can’t wait. Oh and I forgot to say, the mention of another character (Seb) adds a layer of something to push the reader to read on.

    Okay I thought there were two POV issues but now I think there’s only one. It’s a nit pick.

    “He grabbed her arm to lead her somewhere and Bria tensed.” — She can’t know he’s about to lead her somewhere. She can always assume, but it’s not necessary to even point that out because the reader already understands what he’s doing. I’d cut “to lead her somewhere”. Or if you must keep it, I’d make it part of the action, “He grabbed her arm and pulled her forward. Bria tensed.” Something like that.

    I think the second one was “He would force her to show him one of her hiding places.” But I’ve changed my mind. With the “Of course.” after it, it turns it into Bria’s thoughts. And really, he’s not doing that at all, she’s just making it out that he is, which is great characterization for both of them.

    • Jinx says:

      Seb…..Seb is…..yeah never mind, he makes an interesting side to Bria. Her history is nearly as unique as her future.

      I totally see what you mean there, I’ll have to get that fixed.

      Thanks, I’m glad for the help. POV is easy to slip on.

  3. pianolover1114 says:

    What is POV? Anyway… Really funny! Reminds of Mara, that egyptian book you made me read.

  4. Dearest Jinx, I agree with Kay, you outdid yourself on this, and I am very jealous, dialogue is a witchy subject with me, since I do not interact well with people. For some reason they all seem to be of the opinion that I talk weird, go figure! (I don’t, do I?)

    I was very impressed with this. You have grown and improved by leaps and bounds just in the short time that I have been following you, and if you keep up at this rate, you may very well be published by the time you are twenty. I see a very bright future as a writer for you.

    And unlike myself, you have the future to look forward to. But I am trying to make the best of what is left of mine.

    And don’t you do some of Stephanie’s, of BEKINDREWRITE’s prompts? If yes, uh, well, have your stories that resulted from them been a little…well…odd…like as in not what you usually write?

    Mine have. I have only missed one week’s prompts since I started doing them about two or three months ago, and out of all of those, counting this weeks, five were using all of the prompts, but what really spooks me is that every single one of those stories is DARK! Especially the last one, THE AWAKENING, which used all six of this weeks prompts.

    And this is for PianoLover, “POV” stands for “Point Of View”, or from the viewpoint of whatever character is speaking, even if it is only a narrator. “WIP” stands for “Work In Progress”, by the way.

    hugs to you both,

    marantha

    • Jinx says:

      Thank you, dialogue is something that for whatever reason is actually very easy for me all of the sudden. Believe me it shouldn’t be, I’m so introverted its comical so for me to be able to write people interacting is hilarious. People have always told me how hard it would be, so the prospect scared me. Then I started writing it, and I never once had to think about what they would say, the above is not revised even in the littlest bit except to pull typos and POV errors.

      I think what did it for me is that a good friend of mine and I take our characters and play them in every possible situation we can together, acting a little bit like its a book but mostly for fun. Doing this I didn’t even realize it but Bria developed so strongly I can’t go five minutes without thinking what she would say or do in a situation. It just comes.

      Yes, I do BeKindRewrite’s prompts, I’ve been there (almost) every week since week two. The only ones I’ve missed were because I didn’t have time to work on ANY writing. Normally my submissions are extremely sad and/or dark, but so is my book so really that doesn’t surprise me.

      And I’m very flattered that you’ve noticed my growth as a writer. Since I’ve only been writing since…..right after Christmas (I was before but it doesn’t count, believe me) I love hearing from you guys that maybe this isn’t as impossible as it feels.

      I’ve actually got an extremely little amount of school next year for my Junior year so I’m going to be working full bore on my book, and hopefully I’ll be done with the first draft and revising until Christmas of my Senior year. Then I’ll start looking for a publisher! Just hope my head isn’t so in the clouds that it doesn’t work out. =)

      Jinx

  5. KateLyn Grace says:

    wow. This is really incredible. I love the dialogue. The two characters are really good for each other and the little bit of romance keeps it interesting. the fact that you can tell there’s no trust in either half of the relationship is an interesting addition too. tons of fun. and really cute- you were right when you said you were good at writing this type of dialogue. Now I want to see where this relationship goes.

    • Jinx says:

      Kati !!!!

      When I have to make a character explain stuff it starts to sound forced, but yeah I finally got to know Bria well enough to start creating specific characters just to create specific reactions. =)

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