A solicitation for a First Chapter writing contest caused me to restart work on a Ghosts of Ancient Vidura follow-on — now at eight chapters, too sketchy to submit to a competition much less post any of it on my website, although that’s what I’m about to do.

Why? Because feedback is valuable, and one never knows where it’ll lead. As to the contest in question, even if the manuscript was ready-for-reading, terms of service didn’t stipulate sharing of judges’ notes with authors. Feedback is unlikely. I’ll save my twenty dollars for a better offer, but thanks for making me start writing again.

Meanwhile, I was curious enough to read the submissions of prior contest winners and runners-up, a reminder not to care a whole lot about what publishing gatekeepers are looking for in works of fiction. Thematically, not what I’m doing. In terms of voice, the experience left me uncertain about my approach.

I don’t wax lyrical in early chapters. I could. I know how to do it, but I don’t. In my view, and that of many authors, opening lines are best dedicated to arrival at the inciting event. Tell the reader what the grass smells like after you’ve dragged him into the story.

Here's my sketchy first chapter, first draft. The book is yet untitled. What do you think? Should this passage be more evocative? Tell me in the comments.
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