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Author Topic: Starry Night (working)-Fantasy-7k words
Merlion-Emrys
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Greetings all. I've been sadly away for awhile due to insanity and things but in a few less apocalyptic moments I did get a little writing done. I'll take comments on the opening, but full reads are always preferred. Thank you.


In a room of white stars, a man and a woman slept. Their faces seemed serene in the pale light, but this was an illusion; their faces were merely blank.
Liathone stood beside her parents, searching for some sign of consciousness. “It’s been a year since we found them like this, and we don’t even fully understand what’s happened to them," she said, hands clenching at her sides.
“To say nothing of bringing them out of it, I know," Nisenjuro replied. "As many mystics and anchorites as we've sought out, all the monsters we've fought and mystical artifacts we've uncovered, you would think we would have at least learned something."
He put an arm around his twin sister, the woven black

[ December 10, 2013, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: Merlion-Emrys ]

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History
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Hi. You were so kind in your offer to read Lirazel's Heart , I would gladly return the favor and read this tale or "Wolf" for you. Send either one along. [Smile]

Some initial thoughts:
"In a room of white stars..."
I found this difficult to conceive as written. Is it a room containing white stars or a room composed of white stars. Is it important to note the stars are "white", since most stars we see appear "white". If they were blue or emerald, for example, this would be a more striking and memorable image.

"...a man and woman slept."
This is an impersonal distant POV narrator, yet the lines that follow suggest these are beloved parents. Rewriting this from the pained point of view of one or both of the twins would be more intimate--identifying "a man and woman" as "Father and Mother".

"serene" and "blank"
For me these are different expressions but, in any case, perhaps being specific about their features (what does a "blank" face look like?) or adding a simile ("their porcelain-like faces still and expressionless as if in their final repose" or some such).

"...this bard..."
Perhaps name "Sarakurei" here.

"She stood above her parents..."
This image is also unclear. Are her parents below the floor? Or is Liathine floating "above" them? A bit more description and clarity may do wonders here.

"Nisenjuro put an arm..."
I think you mean "his" arm. "An" arm could be anyone's. [Wink] Also consider breaking this sentence into three sentences, with a period after "sister" and the next sentence being "The ___ black shawl around her shoulders mirrored the starry ceiling" (omit "above them" for that is where a ceiling is expected). The ___ before "black" is for a descriptive word of your choice to denote the reflective nature of the black shawl, since normally a black shawl absorbs and does not reflect light.

I think the rest of the sentence needs to be clearer since "it" could refer to the black shawl or the ceiling. I believe a description of her gown other than "white" would be more powerful. "Echo" is auditory and the wrong word for visual description (though adding sound, smell, or touch descriptions is a good idea). Finally, I think you misspelled something in "silver-start studded cloak," and if their are silver stars on his cloak, what type of stars are they and what color or what fabric is his cloak, etc.?

"from...wherever they are."
This is vague. It made me think of family members who go out without telling anyone where they were going. It may be more powerful if the children know where they are, even in vague terms (the Spirit Realm, the Past, the Future, Heaven or Hell, or an invented name of your own), and are anxious that they have not returned, cannot return, or are being kept from returning.

Just some quick thoughts. As always, keep what you find useful and ignore the rest.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Merlion-Emrys
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Thanks, Dr.Bob, some good observations there. This thing is pretty rough I must admit.

Which of the two would you prefer? I can't decide...this one is a "Nine Roads" story, "Wolf" is a somewhat dark Emrys story.

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Merlion-Emrys
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Added a different version based on your comments.

I'd like to be less vague about what happened to their parents, the trouble is I don't even know for sure. I kind of think if they knew exactly where their minds/spirits had gone they could probably have already awoken them...

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extrinsic
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Maybe not where the parents' spirits have gone, but maybe by what agency they were taken?

[ October 10, 2013, 05:40 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Bent Tree
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I enjoyed the first version which demonstrates the whimsy and nostalgic voice of a sagely narrator. I enjoyed the transition into story and it kept my interest. More your style, me thinks
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Merlion-Emrys
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So, I am starting revisions on this story, beginning by removing a large section of the opening sequence. Thoughts on the opening appreciated and also still looking for additional readers.
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wetwilly
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I'm happy to return your favor and read it for you. Send it over.
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wetwilly
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I'm happy to return your favor and read it for you. Send it over.
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pidream
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In a room of white stars, a man and a woman slept.
1. Nice line, but sounds and feels more like poetry, to me, than opening line. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what does it tell me? The story feels like fantasy, considering the last graph, so making the lights life-support devices will not work. What is special about the room, the stars, or it effect on the sleepers if any?

Their faces seemed serene in the pale light, but this was an illusion; their faces were merely blank.
2. The sleepers are in comas, but the continued reference to pale light makes me think of patients in hospital room. I am not sure if this is what you intended, but that is what I am imagining.

Liathone stood beside her parents, searching for some sign of consciousness. “It’s been a year since we found them like this, and we don’t even fully understand what’s happened to them," she said, hands clenching at her sides.
3. There’s a mystery. They’ve had time to resolve it, but have come up empty, it seems. Usually after something like this happens, and there is no resolution people accept the situation for what it is and move on, but they haven’t apparently. Why? What is so important about their parents, above everyone else, that they would continue?

“To say nothing of bringing them out of it, I know," Nisenjuro replied. "As many mystics and anchorites as we've sought out, all the monsters we've fought and mystical artifacts we've uncovered, you would think we would have at least learned something."
He put an arm around his twin sister, the woven black
4. So they don’t know what happened to them or how to bring them out of their sleeping beauty state. The twins have the resources to drop what their doing and spend a year consulting all manner of Wiseman, have fought monsters, and unearthed artifacts in the hope of reviving them. But I am still left wondering why, are their parents royalty that they would go to such dangerous lengths, for them?

Everything you've written, creates more questions, which is good, but for me I want a little more clarity as to who their parents are and why is it important they do this. Doing all this in the first 13 is daunting, for me at least, but I think you could reword (it’s a tiny bit wordy), and give me more of their motivations. Good luck.

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Merlion-Emrys
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Thanks, pi, for your comment. I really appreciate it when people tell me what they see or perceive in my work and why...the reasons and thinking behind it make the feedback much more helpful. That being said I feel the need to comment on one thing.


quote:
But I am still left wondering why, are their parents royalty that they would go to such dangerous lengths, for them?
I have to say, this is somewhat strange to me. If you cared deeply for someone...your parents, your significant other, your child or whatever, wouldn't you do whatever you could to get them back if they were lost in some way?

Something along these lines, the love of a person or perhaps a small group of people is a central motivation for many stories. Often even when there are larger things at risk as well, for a particular character it is those close to him or her that motivate them to do what they do (for example, Frodo saves the world, but it was the Shire that was primarily in his mind.)


Also, you're actually about close enough as to make no never mind with "hospital room" as their location.

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pidream
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Sorry if I touched a raw nerve with my comments. It was not my intention. Just an observation.
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Merlion-Emrys
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No, its nothing like that.

I occasionally hear those sorts of things, I just don't understand and am honestly curious about that point of view, because it is foreign to me, as I can't imagine reacting any other way if I was in such a situation (and actually possessed the ability to do something about it.)

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pidream
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Embracing or at least understanding a foreign POV, whether we agree with it or not allows us into the heads of potential characters we will write about in the future. And IMHO our dealings with people in life in general.
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Merlion-Emrys
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Ok. I was curious about it. I'm asking for details/explanation/clarity. I asked to begin with, would you not keep trying to help someone you cared for?

I guess not?

If so, why not?

etc etc. I'm not rejecting, I'm asking for explanation.

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wetwilly
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For me "they're my parents and they're in trouble" is plenty of motivation. As a reader, I'm fine with not having any more than that. I would move heaven and Earth (assuming I had the ability to) to save my parents--at least, I think I would--and I think most people would. In my personal opinion, no more motivation is required.
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Kai Sen
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I'll try to critique based on my immediate impressions as a reader:

The first line is interesting. It gives a sense of darkness without being explicit. When I read "…slept" it makes me think they're in bed together, with sheets drawn up. Should I be thinking that? Next line, "..merely..." did make me pause for a bit to try figure out why it was used. Why "merely"?

When Liathone is introduced it feel like a reveal - I thought no one else was there, then I had to readjust. At this point the entire feel of the story changes from something distant and kind of sci-fi-ish (as if these two where in hibernation) to her immediate need and desire. The story is clear on what it's about: Lia wants her parents back to normal.

Then Nisen is introduced, and again it felt like a reveal - oh, didn't see you there Nisen, I thought only Lia was alone in the room clenching fists and talking to the air. Some like that kind of over the shoulder reveal you see in movies, where a character talks, the camera moves and you see someone behind them. (I see that in anime a lot). But it's harder to get that effect in prose.

The dialogue is expositional. This early it behaves like narration through the characters…instead of the narrator. Would two siblings really talk this way with each other in the solemn presence of their parents? They might, but that hasn't been established yet.

Overall, I'm interested. I'm curious about how their world works, but more curious about their plan to reawaken their parents. I wanna see them do things. So the first 13 does it's job. But I think it would nice to show off this world right off the bat. The parents are good motivation, but I'm waiting for Lia and Nisen to do something cool. And quick. [Smile]

[ December 17, 2013, 09:04 AM: Message edited by: Kai Sen ]

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