Today I take a look at a listener’s first page and suggest ways to make it better. It’s an old school Death Of 1000 Cuts ‘In The Barber’s Chair’ episode. Hurrah!

I chat a bit about exposition, writing convincing dialogue, world-building in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and centring your protagonist’s conflicts. Lots of meat and potatoes stuff on editing your work to make it better.

Untitled by M

The old druid was creeping her out.

“It’s a hard thankless living, being the only watcher in these Felinae lands,” he was saying over his glass of wine. “But somebody has to do it.” He winked at Shehr in the firelight. Ew. “I cut this glade myself. Admittedly, there weren’t many trees to cut. The flora is sparse here, as you can see. And I built my home with these very hands. I’m not the strapping young man I used to be, but I don’t shy from hardship. Not old Xartes. The duty I accepted at the druid council—”

Oh my god, just kill me now. Shehr looked at her father, smoking his pipe and running his fingers over a beard like hanging moss. Her father seemed enraptured by their host, but surely that was the wine. How long would he make them stay here with this old… this old leathery… Shehr appraised Xartes, who was still blathering on and on about his boring duty to the druid council. What would the desert equivalent of ‘old codger’ be? Old gecko? Old desert bat?

Old Iguana. Xartes was like an old leathery iguana. Or were iguanas tropical? She and her father hadn’t been to the tropics for years. Not since she was a child—

“The Felinae are terrifying, my dear,” Xartes said.

He was talking to her. She snapped back to the present. “Um…”

He gave Shehr’s father an amused look. “She’s never seen one, has she Takhmaspa?”

Her father, smiling genially, shook his head. Then he blew out a family of ethereal smoke rings that floated away, one after the other.

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