A faint breath of violets roused me, a tease of spring air, sunshine and Jeran's kiss. It was a lovely whisper, and pure fantasy. I'd yet to open my eyes, but I was under no misconceptions, Nevron Kareck did not bedeck his dungeons with flowers and my husband was nowhere at hand, thank the gods.
Sometimes I simply smelled violets. It was a construct of my mind, a limited form of defense, granted, but it consumed none of my pathetic strength. Indeed, after calling up the dream-scent with a purpose during the first weeks of my incarceration it now came on its own whimsy.
I didn't mind. Those dreams were a fair stretch better than reality, a reality now breaking upon me.
Screaming wrists and shoulders warned I was strung up by my arms, and the stone beneath my knees, marble-smooth rather than rough, told me I was not in my cell, but in the chamber Kareck dubbed his workroom. Cuts, bruises and breaks re-announced their presence as well, but it was the injury notorious in absence which pained most darkly.
The gut wound, with its deadly seepings, was traitorously Healed.
"She's conscious, my lord." Mavene, the bitch.
I'm intrigued by this story. I would read on, definitely. Got a big problem up front. Got a character who's already gaining my sympathy by dreaming of better times, she's in a dungeon, and she so far seems pretty brave if she's able to call her captive names.
But the sentence structure concerns me right off in the first graph. For instance:
I'd yet to open my eyes, but I was under no misconceptions, Nevron Kareck did not bedeck his dungeons with flowers and my husband was nowhere at hand, thank the gods.
Technically, we've got four complete clauses here and two compound sentences. It's a run-on, to get picky with it, because of improper punctuation. This alerts me as an editor because I wonder if I must re-punctuate the entire story. I'm not saying I'd cut this into four separate sentences, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I passed it through like this without some thought. The two compounds need to be separated by a semi-colon and if I'm doing that, I'd just go to a full-top, and then what's to really keep me from reworking the pacing altogether? Would it work better with a choppy beat? No? But two compound sentences in sequence might bug me... Well, it could work here, but not if that pattern repeats itself. So you see how this leads on?
Caveat. Of course writers employ improper punctuation and run-ons and fragments for effect. But this writer loves long sentences. One of them has 39 words! Whew! I had to go back and reread a couple of times. So in this case, sentence structure is kicking me out of the story rather than taking me by the hand and leading me through it.
To verge further into editorial opinion: Long sentences add to the dreamy sequence at the start, but greatly hinder the transition into cold, hard reality later on. I also don't feel the stone beneath my knees or the cuts and bruises, though this writer is clearly capable of making me do so. They're buried in so many words, the effect is lost.
Sentence structure is one of the tools in your box, affecting everything from meaning to pacing to atmosphere. It's your job as writers to employ structure to gain intended effect. I don't have total confidence I'm in capable hands in this piece, so I'm wary. But because of the inciting incident, I would read on.
Thanks so much for entering so we all can learn, including me! :)