Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » YA Novel... no sugar-coating, please.

   
Author Topic: YA Novel... no sugar-coating, please.
Andrew_McGown
Member
Member # 8732

 - posted      Profile for Andrew_McGown   Email Andrew_McGown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi, this is the first 13 for a YA novel.

quote:

It was cold and the wind blew hard out of a clear night sky. The Ruby’s sails were trimmed in tight. She was sailing close to the wind so she could to get around the heads and into calmer waters. She was a raider, designed for reaching and running downwind, not his point of sail. It was no good for her. She pitched and sliced through the waves.

Rabbit, at thirteen, and too small to be much help in these conditions. So he stood by the captain, glancing alternately between the warship behind, gaining on them in these heavy seas, and the unknown waters ahead.‘Rabbit!’ the old man called,‘Go below, quick, and fetch Mr Mudgeon.’

Rabbit darted over the rolling deck and past the hatch. He dodged the prisoners’ hands as they reached through the bars for him. (...)


The writing is just started. Would you read on? What are you expecting from this set up?

Appreciate any comment, really.

Cheers.

[This message has been edited by Andrew_McGown (edited August 01, 2009).]


Posts: 185 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Devin
Member
Member # 8735

 - posted      Profile for Devin           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It was cold and the wind blew hard out of a clear night sky. [Usually weak to start off talking about the weather, in this case the wind is important but I would not lead with it] The Ruby’s sails were trimmed in tight. She was sailing close to the wind so she could to get around the heads [I have no idea what ‘the heads’ means in this context] and into calmer waters. She was a raider, designed for reaching and running downwind, not his point of sail. [First, the phase ‘not his point of sail’ his who? or did you mean this point of sail i.e. close reach] It was no good for her. She pitched and sliced through the waves [see below for comments on points of sail].

Rabbit, at thirteen, and [this is not a complete sentence change ‘and’ to ‘was’] too small to be much help in these conditions. So [meaningless word lose it] he stood by the captain, glancing alternately between the warship behind [behind adds nothing ‘gaining on them’ says it all], gaining on them in these heavy seas, and the unknown waters ahead. ‘Rabbit!’ the old man called, [I assume the old man is the Captain? Why is he yelling at Rabbit who is standing right next to him.] ‘Go below, quick, and fetch Mr Mudgeon.’
Rabbit darted over the rolling deck and past the hatch. He dodged the prisoners’ hands as they reached through the bars for him. (...)

I am not a sailor but it seems to me you have some problems with your points of sail. You say the Ruby was designed ‘reaching and running downwind’ and ‘no good’ at sailing close to the wind. All ships are slow sailing close to the wind but a small raider (especially if it where fore and aft rigged) would do it better then a large warship (usually square rigged). The raider would most likely be fastest beam reach while the warship would be fastest broad reach. If anything the Ruby would be pulling away until she was forced to change her sailing point.

Now the good part. I’m interested in what is going on. Are the crew of the Ruby pirates, privateers or something else? Why do they have prisoners? Who is in the warship and why are they chasing them? Also I want to like an undersized cabin boy named Rabbit.


Posts: 18 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Andrew_McGown
Member
Member # 8732

 - posted      Profile for Andrew_McGown   Email Andrew_McGown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, that's great.
the 'his point of sail' is a typo. Should be 'this point of sail' will correct and repost.

Are you a sailor?

Because I could do with the help.


Posts: 185 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Andrew_McGown
Member
Member # 8732

 - posted      Profile for Andrew_McGown   Email Andrew_McGown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:

It was cold and the wind blew hard out of a clear night sky. The Ruby’s sails were trimmed in tight. She was sailing close to the wind so she could to get around the rocky heads and into calmer waters. She was a raider, designed for reaching and running downwind, not this point of sail. It was no good for her. She pitched and sliced through the waves.

Rabbit, thirteen and too small to be much help in these conditions, stood by the captain, glancing between the warship gaining on them, and the unknown waters ahead.‘Rabbit!’ the captain called through the gale,‘Go below, quick, and fetch Mr Mudgeon.’

Rabbit darted over the rolling deck and past the hatch. He dodged the prisoners’ hands as they reached through the bars for him. (...)


My nautical 'staging' is a bit confused and I could do with the help.

[This message has been edited by Andrew_McGown (edited August 01, 2009).]


Posts: 185 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Crank
Member
Member # 7354

 - posted      Profile for Crank   Email Crank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

As was already said, leading with a weather report-esque description doesn't usually make a good opening. On top of that, the entire first paragraph, while offering some sense of urgency in the form of sailing close to shore in windy conditions, makes no mention of anyone to which I can attach my concern / interest.

Consider merging one or more of the first 13's other points (Rabbit, the approaching warship, the relevance of Mr. Mudgeon, etc.) into the existing first paragraph, and your chances of hooking people like me (I like a good sailing story!) will increase dramatically.

S!
S!


Posts: 620 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ScardeyDog
Member
Member # 8707

 - posted      Profile for ScardeyDog   Email ScardeyDog         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree that the second paragraph is much more engaging. Could you find a way to chop up the first paragraph and incorporate it into the second?

Also, I'm not a sailor. The terms "the heads", "reaching" and "point of sail" mean nothing to me. I'm not saying you shouldn't use these terms, just be aware that you might have to spell it out for us land-lubbers. And too many at once can be very disorienting.


Posts: 238 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
genevive42
Member
Member # 8714

 - posted      Profile for genevive42   Email genevive42         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The first paragraph is way too technical for me. I would rather have a description of the ship plunging through the rough waters with only a little mention of sailing details for flavor. You can blend the heavier sailing stuff in as the narrative goes on.

Also, if Mr. Mudgeon is a prisoner it might be nice to see a surprised reaction from Rabbit. Maybe something to indicate just what level or type of seriousness fetching Mr. Mudgeon means.

Does Mr. Mudgeon have some special ability that will help get them out of this mess, what is it and will he be willing to use it? The fact that I'm asking these questions means that you have me curious. That is a good thing.

In the first paragraph the sentences feel a bit choppy.

Just curious, is there a speculative element here or are we looking at a not so proper Horatio Hornblower - type story? I read a few of the Hornblower novels as a kid but at some point they all started to feel the same (especially hearing the same technical stuff every time) and I never made it through the whole series.

Maybe you could get more into Rabbit's head. Does the situation have him worried or have they made this run dozens of times before? I know there's some urgency but I can't tell what he's really thinking or feeling here.

All this said, I think it's a good start that makes me want to see more.


Posts: 1993 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Andrew_McGown
Member
Member # 8732

 - posted      Profile for Andrew_McGown   Email Andrew_McGown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is definitely specualtive fiction.
I can get more into Rabbit's head as suggested and finesse thetechnical aspect.

Thank you for this feedback.

I will be reposting soon.


Posts: 185 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2