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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » "Sent", Ch 1

   
Author Topic: "Sent", Ch 1
zerostone
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Trying to get feedbnack on this opening.

Thanks.

Chapter One
Anaya’s revenge

“Why do you do this to yourself” Keva asked with a sigh.
Her bronze hands deftly folded a piece of damp cloth filled with the special mix of mashed plants and the strong smelling mold that grew on bread until she got it to the right width to wrap it around Anaya’s wounded neck. Then she stepped around behind him.
He dutifully wound his shoulder-length hair into a wide rope with his left hand and lifted it up and off of his neck. They had done this so many times that it was an automatic ritual.
She gently wrapped the newly formed poultice around Anaya’s throat, once, then twice. He immediately took in the


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MrsBrown
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Welcome to Hatrack! I’m a line-editing nitpick, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

Need the question mark: yourself?” Nice opening question, leading into the “ritual”.

“Her bronze hands” read like a possible hook because I thought you meant they were really made of metal; when it didn’t come up again I realized you must have meant her skin coloring, so it was a let-down. “bronzed” would solve it.

The line “They had done this so many times that it was an automatic ritual” is your hook; I want to read on to find out why his neck gets injured repeatedly. But there’s too much wordiness, which pulls me out of the story.

“filled with the special mix of mashed plants and the strong smelling mold that grew on bread” is a run-on description, which could simply be “poultice” or “mash” at this point. The ingredients don’t matter yet.

“around behind” Don’t need both; behind is enough.

Too much repetition about his neck. Suggest cutting “until she got it to the right width to wrap it around Anaya’s wounded neck”, and replace “throat” with “wounded neck”. If you do that, you might try moving the “automatic ritual” sentence to follow the wrapped around the neck sentence. (I can more easily picture winding something around a neck than a throat.)
“up and off of his neck” could be replaced by: out of the way.
We just saw her make the poultice, so don’t need “newly formed”. Suggest cutting “, once, then twice”.

Can you work in an indication of the setting? They are floating in space.

Can someone locate a link to a discussion about the overuse of “ly” words?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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MrsBrown, if you use the search link (near the upper right hand corner, under the words "Post Reply") and search on adverbs and -ly with the search set to find either, you'll get a nice long list of topics.

You can then create a topic in the FAQs area and fill it with links to those topics you consider relevant.


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mythique890
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It was interesting, but what threw me was the name "Anaya," probably because I read it as "Anya," which, to me, is a female name. I excpected Anaya to be female. Is it a name from a certain ethnicity?
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InarticulateBabbler
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Hi, welcome to Hatrack.

Here's My take:

quote:

“Why do you do this to yourself[?]” Keva asked[,] with a sigh.

Her bronze hands [deftly<--[Is this adverb necessary?] folded a piece of damp cloth[,] filled with the special mix of mashed plants and the [strong smelling<--[I think you can replace thse with a stronger word.] mold that grew on bread[,] until she got it to the right width to wrap it around Anaya’s [Some word of masculine connotation should be here.]wounded neck. [At this point, we know that both characters are familiar with what's happening, but it is unclear to the reader. It shouldn't be a mystery.] Then she stepped [around<--IMHO - cut.] behind him.

He dutifully wound his shoulder-length hair into a wide rope with his left hand and lifted it up and off of his neck.<--[IMHO - this is a far too complicated way of saying: He lifted his shoulder-length hair off of his neck.] They had done this so many times that it was an automatic ritual. [They had bandaged his neck many times? Why? I feel like you're withholding because they both know and I'm left out.]
She gently wrapped the newly formed poultice around Anaya’s throat[, once, then twice<--[Unnecessary]. He immediately took in the


1) There are quite a few unnecessary adverbs in this first part: deftly, dutifully, gently, newly and immediately. In each case, you could either drop the adverb or find a stronger verb. Doing this, you allow us to get further into the story and immerse with concise description.

2) It seems you are prolonging the hook. From this, I cannot identify the genre, where they are (inside or out), what time period they are in, the conflict or what kind of people they are. I only know their names, and that they frequently bandage Anaya's thoat. by not giving us what they both know, you make us ambiguous. Why should I care? I don't know what's going on, and the author obviously isn't going to give me the information.

I hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited May 29, 2009).]


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zerostone
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Hi,

Thank you all for your feedback. I especially like Inarticulate Babbler's 'recording of the process.' That's very helpful.


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Patrick James
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I posted this in the other thread a while back, probably going to reiterate what other people have since said, but I am just moving it so it will be in the right thread:


Hello, I don't believe we've met, zerostone.

I hope you enjoy it here.

First off some poeple have a beef with opening a story with dialogue. 'Some people' does not include me. I like the opening line. It is filled with meaning, and possibly conflict--depending on what it is the character is doing to himself/herself.

The second sentence desparately needs a break, a comma, a period would do wonders.

Third sentence opens with 'then' I would lose this word. Begining a sentence with 'then' always seems to cheapen a piece.

'They had done this so many times before.' This says a lot about the characters and their relationship. Others may say you could have gotten this across in the previous sentence.

I dont believe in over anaylzing such small passages, but, I suppose that is why you posted it...

I don't know very much from this small bit but I like it. (all except that second sentence. It really needs to be broken up.)

Good luck and thanks for putting up with my yakking.


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zerostone
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Is this any improvement?


“Why do you do this to yourself” Keva asked with a sigh.
They stood on the porch of her hut, while Keva's father watched them surreptitiously from a nearby field. Anaya frowned and said nothing. He wound his shoulder-length hair into a rope and lifted it from his neck.
They had done this so many times it was an automatic ritual. Keva cleansed the wound, applied a poultice, then said, "Are you going to answer me?"


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InarticulateBabbler
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It is better, but:

quote:
Anaya [frowned and said nothing. He<--Do you need this? What does it add?] wound his shoulder-length hair into a rope and lifted it from his neck.

With the questioned part cut:

quote:
Anaya wound his shoulder-length hair into a rope and lifted it from his neck.

What do you think?


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zerostone
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Yah, better.

Nice. Thanks, IB!


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MAP
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Zerostone,

I know this is an old post, but I was just skimming the old threads and I just had to comment on your opening.

I liked the first opening A LOT better than the second.

Describing how Keva treated Aanya's wound created an intimacy betweent he two characters. It made me think that they were a lovers or at least wanted to be a lovers. It was a nice way of showing their relationship.

The second opening was too detached. It felt as if Keva was just some healer in the village even though her father watching seemed to indicate otherwise.

In the first opening I was drawn in by the relationship between them. Not at all in the second one.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a different perspective. I hope it helps.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited June 27, 2009).]


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