I am adrift between the clouds like a bird on an autumn afternoon. The wind blows through my hair like claws clutching at its prey. After a momentary slip into a stall, I pull back on the control bar to smoothly ascend into the thermal stream. I feel free. Below, Heidi and Tamara appear like ants on the sun baked coast.
As I bank, I can feel the tension of the aluminum frame grip my hands like a leaf of aspen. I gauge my distance and speed as I approach the jagged edge of the coastal ridge. The sun is still high in the sky. I feel there is one more gust to ride. Fighting the pull and drag, I lightly pitch the wings to the side and head out to sea.
The wind rushes up the slope, nearly vertically, creating lift as I dive to gain speed for ascent and regain altitude.
[This message has been edited by telflonmail (edited July 24, 2011).]
I believe others have commented, as with your other first 13 the story reads more like poetry. I agree with those comments. This may not be your intention but it seems that way to me. Sometimes confusing imagery, and I’ve been guilty of it, with storytelling weakens the hook from the beginning. Maybe I got it wrong. Are you trying to write poetry?
I am adrift between the clouds like a bird on an autumn afternoon. 1.I would drop this line altogether and make my first sentence the second clause of your third sentence to get the reader’s attention right away. I pull back on the control bar and smoothly ascend into the thermal stream.
The wind blows through my hair like claws clutching at its prey. 2.Blows and claws do not work together- maybe rips or tears would flow better. You say like claws clutching its prey. Like what? Like a canary’s- like a sparrow’s- like a hawk’s.
After a momentary slip into a stall, I pull back on the control bar to smoothly ascend into the thermal stream. 3.See comment one.
I feel free. 4.Simple and direct.
Below, Heidi and Tamara appear like ants on the sun baked coast. 5.I lived in Monterey CA for a few years and I can remember seeing hang gliders fill the sky above the cliffs during summer. So for me this is good. Good you have identified some character’s but are they friends or maybe his wife and daughter?
As I bank, I can feel the tension of the aluminum frame grip my hands like a leaf of aspen. 6.Wordy- tighten it up. I bank and feel . . . . How can the frame or a leaf grip his hands. Re-consider the logic of what you’re saying here.
I gauge my distance and speed as I approach the jagged edge of the coastal ridge. 7.Wordy and the sentence, for me, doesn’t move the story forward.
The sun is still high in the sky. 8.You’re telling us about the sun not showing us.
I feel there is one more gust to ride. 9.How does this sentence move the story forward? I think you could drop it.
Fighting the pull and drag, I lightly pitch the wings to the side and head out to sea. 10.The word fighting and lightly work against each other to me and steal tension from the sentence. Maybe just- I pitch the wings.
The wind rushes up the slope, nearly vertically, creating lift as I dive to gain speed for ascent and regain altitude. 11.Scene logic- Sentence 3 your ascending into a thermal. Sentence 7 you are approaching the ridge. Sentence 10 your heading out to sea. Sentence 11 it appears your catching the lift off the ridge- correct? I think this sentence needs to be inserted after sentence 7 but before sentence 10. The sentence is very wordy. And I am sorry but, from what little I know about hang gliding, if you dive into rushing nearly vertical draft, you will stall as you’re wings are be forced completely vertical. Hang gliders do dive but usually to produce momentum to carry them up to catch a upward thermal draft, but rarely from my spectators position (no guts), do they dive into a slope or in this case something ‘nearly vertical’ to accomplish what your describing.
Telflonmail, I apologize if this was terse but for me imagery alone will not sustain a story. It needs to be fashioned like a woman’s dress (I beg forgiveness from all the women writers here) drawing our eyes to the neck, waste and hemline creating tension and drama that pulls us in. And I think this applies to women too, as they are the ones who buy the dresses- right?
I disagree with pidream on this. I see no reason to change anything you wrote. The imagery is clear and the prose engaging. Quite a wonderful description of what a glider pilot is experiencing. Exhilirating just reading it.
The only exception is this line.
quote:I can feel the tension of the aluminum frame grip my hands like a leaf of aspen
The simile seems odd. If I understand you correctly, I believe you are comparing the MC's tenuous hold to the bar to a aspen leaf's attachment to a branch; wavering, brittle, in danger of breaking free and seperating forever. May I suggest a bit of clarity to support your simile
like a branches hold on a leaf
or something like that.
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited July 31, 2011).]
Just my preference, but I find present tense hard to get into. To carry pidream's metaphor a little further, I think writing needs to be like a woman's skirt--long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep it interesting. You've got yourself a high-necked Victorian gown. Thirteen lines and you've described hang gliding. No real conflict, no suspense, just description. Lots of description.
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I haven't critiqued anyone's writing lately, but I noticed this and felt compelled to put in my two cents. I have read some of the comments above, but not all, so I am sorry if this is repetitive; I try not to let others' comments influence my own.
First, I would agree that this reads more like poetry. You have even truncated your lines into stanzas, thus reinforcing this perception. Having said that, you actually have 14 lines, not 13, due to how you have presented this. Rules are rules.
Second, You are heavy on the similes - there are four in the first five sentences and the second and third appear to be reaching. I actually like the use of metaphor, but by using three very different comparisons, you disrupt the narrative and poetic flow. I see a broad theme, but with very little cohesiveness. Consider an extended metaphor, one with a consistency in comparison, and not necessarily using "like or as", except possibly in the first sentence.
Third, your use of perception words - "feel, appear, gauge" - create distance with the reader. People are always talking about "show and tell" and not understanding the difference. Well, this is an example of telling - you are telling the reader how she feels or sees. Consider - "I am free" instead of "I feel free", and "Heidi and Tamara are (like) ants", etc.
That said, I like your style and would continue reading, at least a little further - I would expect some conflict fairly soon, but I am not sure how this style would work once the conflict arose.
[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited August 14, 2011).]
My first thoughts: The present tense is going to be hard to get used to, but I'll leave that aside for a bit. The "leaf of aspen" simile tripped me up as well. A character flying/gliding/etc is an okay setting, but I have no idea what she's going to do. What is the problem? What are you promising to tell the reader a story about? Setting is needed in a hook, but you also need a hint of plot, and I don't get any of that with this opening.
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