Part of the mess I created was writing two different openings for a chapter (which is also the reader's 1st intro to one of the POV characters). Now that I have both, I'm a little indecisive as to which is the best/hookiest. If you have the time, would you mind giving me your opinion on which of these openings (two paras each) appeals most to you?
Keep in mind that they are nowhere near being final drafts. It is more the moment in time that I'm interested in. Don't let the colors influence you. :P
The moment the door shut behind the last groveling slave, Baxente Llari, future ruler of the peirlands, drew back his fist and smashed the council table. Tiny chairs went flying across the model’s floor as the cedar tabletop split down the middle, legs splintering satisfyingly, crack, crack, snap. He snatched up the one leg that had not succumbed to his rage, half the table hanging from it, and broke its delicate length between forefingers and thumbs.
A pent breath shuddered out of him as he dropped the small fragments on the floor, staring in astonishment at what he had done. It had taken him a sixday to carve that table and another to get the shine to match the original in the meeting hall. He would have to do it all again. Because of the stupid sages.
The word “no” was not foreign to Baxente LLari, but as future ruler of the peirlands, few were the times anyone dared use it to his royal person. The no’s resounded from the walls of the hexagonal council chamber, pressing Baxente against the high back of his chair, and but his so-called sages did not appear to notice the echoes. Their gazes were steady and unrepentant upon him as, one after another, they denied him, each slapping the tabletop so there could be no mistaking their vote.
His aunt Ferrexon reached across the honeywood table and patted his forearm, her charm bracelets rattling. “If we did not love you, Peirsain, we would send you off, not worrying about your safety. Only think what it would mean to Semborain to lose its heir should happen to you.”
So, the first happens, as you can imagine, after the council meeting and the second shows Baxente arguing against the council's decision. The first starts after that primary conflict, but another conflict arrives rather quickly in the form of Bax learning that he is being poisoned.
The second does show some argument and builds the world more, but it also introduces more characters and names that could confuse the reader.
Anyhow, any and all help is greatly appreciated.
ETA: Took out the bit that tatterpunk so judiciously suggested I could cut. Goodbye, flab! Maybe I'll get better at spotting you on my own one of these days. :P