Betton could not outrun her pursuers. They were bigger than her and would overtake her in short time. Betton could outclimb them though and dived into an alley, feet skidding on the rough cobblestones. Her fingers caught at uneven, gapping stones and the soft soles of her leather boots aided her in scaling the wall. She heard their pounding footsteps behind her, shouts as they spotted her disappearing over the low wall at the top of the building.
Khurdu spread out before in brown, square buildings, edging up on the forest. The trees were heights above the town, ancient sentries and a safe haven for her. She only had to reach it before the city guard made their lumbering way after her.
She ran across the roof and and leapt across the wide gap to the next. It was a straight shot from here to the forest. They knew that was where she was going. There was no where else for her. The guard would wait and apprehend her there. They could outrun her, but they could not take her from up here. The rooftops were hers, and up here, she flew. And very near her, a bolt from a crossbow flew by. The guard had made it up much faster than she expected.
-A clear visual of what’s happening
-Enough about the main character to sympathize with the her
I recommend reading a lot of published authors to learn from them. Go for the really big ones in whichever is your genre, or if you want to read some awesome sci fi indie author I very much loved Elle Casey (War of the Fae series). I do not know Elle Casey and unfortunately she is not my friend; I just very much liked her books ;) (some fowl language, be warned, but very funny).
That said, here is what I noticed in your 200 words:
- Show, don’t tell! You are telling me that Betton cannot outrun her pursuers (or that they are bigger and will overtake her). Okay, I believe you, but I don’t see it happen. For an exhaustive post on how to “show don’t tell” click here :)
- Be clear: If she is going to outclimb them, why is she running into an alley? This passage might be obvious in your head, but when you write take nothing for granted. The reader knows only what you tell them
- Avoid clashing images: if she is diving into the alley, how come her feet are skidding? Khurdu spreads, yet is edging the forest. Which one?
- Break your narration with internal thoughts if dialogue is not an option
- Setting: Is it day or night? What does it smell like? Any sound?
- Emotions: What is Betton feeling? Is she a cold blooded killer calculating how to escape or is she terrified? Did she do something wrong or not? Is she regretful? Inebriated by the chase? Excited? Lonely? Desperate? I know it’s early in your story, but try to suck in your reader. I added only a bit because I don’t know much about your story :)
- Watch for typos! “Before” or “before her”? “Gapping” or “gaping”? “Heights” is a noun, “high” is an adjective. “No where” or “nowhere”?
- Choose verbs and words carefully! “Lumbering” means to move slowly, in a heavy, awkward way, but the city guard(s) are running quite fast on her heels!
- Why would the forest be a safe haven? If you don’t want to say no, that’s fine, but maybe leave it a bit more vague.
Betton ran till her lungs seemed to burst, but the heavy footfalls behind her only got louder. One guard shouted the alarm and the echo seemed to trap her in Khurdu’s empty streets. More shadows slithered out of the darkness ahead, and Betton panicked, almost tumbling as she came to an abrupt stop, heart in her throat.
Where? Where? Where?
A rat scuttled beside her, revealing a narrow alley at her left. She dove in, fumbling, tears pricking at her eyes as she swatted at the humid air; it was dank and smelled of urine. She crawled ahead, but more yelling and footfalls resonated behind her.
They found the alley!
Her fingers scraped at the brick walls, close enough for her to climb. She jumped up and squeezed herself toward the roofs, slipping, hitting her elbow, breaking a darn nail. When she finally saw the stars, she hoisted herself up, taking a deep breath of fresh air, but an arrow whistled beside her, grazing her arm. She cursed.
The burning streak in her bicep subsided with the thought they must be close behind her. Strung high with adrenaline, she rushed onto the red terracotta tiles, scampering like a cat, and jumped from roof to roof, toward the distant dark promise of the enchanted forest at the edge of town.
Who am I to give you advice?
I think that writers should help each other, because no one can tell your story! I am the very short, Italian born author of the Italian Saga (#TIS):
Support this relentless indie author and check the books out here ;)
FYI: The books are recommended for anyone 13 and above, but most of my readers are adults.