Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
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 » THE WINGED GIRL (fantasy) - 1st 13

   
Author Topic: THE WINGED GIRL (fantasy) - 1st 13
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dar’s blood boiled. The horrific tale had become an all too common one, a pretty young maid stolen in the night, distraught parents begging for aid. But this was different, this time it was Dale and Sara with tear streaked faces and wild haunted eyes. The farmers had always been so kind, even to a Hoyden like Dar. They deserved far better than this.

“Can you find her Daralia?” Sara’s voice was hollow and rough, she knew that none taken had ever returned, yet there was still that single stubborn note of reckless hope.

Dar felt her throat close with unaccustomed emotion. She knew the odds as well as Sara but still, “If she lives, I will find her.” It was too much to promise, and not nearly enough.

She left the couple to their weeping. At their urgent request...

-----
I humbly offer up my latest WIP. I'm looking for crits on these first 13, and any takers for the first one or two chapters, the chapters are short(ish), the first is at approx. 2,400 and the first two chapters total 4,600.

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LDWriter2
Member
Member # 9148

 - posted      Profile for LDWriter2   Email LDWriter2         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The title caught my attention so I thought I would give it a look see.

Not bad, you get what is going on, and who is who-- except for what a Hoyden is but I don't think you have room right there for the explanation. But that might be good, extra curiosity there.

The first three sentences are a little cliche-ish but that could be okay. Nice phrase there with "It was too Much" sentence. Not sure if "At their urgent" fits there but I would have to wait to decide after I see what is next to be sure.

Sorry I don't have time right now to do more than read-- way behind on my novels even though I would keep reading at least to end of the first chapter. And if the writing is like for this I would probably keep going.

Posts: 4896 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Denevius
Member
Member # 9682

 - posted      Profile for Denevius   Email Denevius         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
hello josephine. i'll take a look at two chapters. just email them to me.
Posts: 750 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MartinV
Member
Member # 5512

 - posted      Profile for MartinV   Email MartinV         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A bit fast paced for my taste but I would read on. Two chapters sound good to me. Send them my way.
Posts: 1271 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks guys, I sent the first two chapters your way. Hope you enjoy.

-JK

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TempestDash
Member
Member # 9026

 - posted      Profile for TempestDash   Email TempestDash         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I feel as though there is too much too quickly. In thirteen lines we have 4 characters (Dar, Sara, Dale, and the missing girl) and one of those characters has THREE designations (Dar, Daralia, and 'a Hoyden'). Push the mention of Dale past the initial 13, and possibly push the reference of Hoyden until it's plot relevant. Using a new term unique to your universe in the first 13 is taking up space. Nobody knows what a Hoyden is yet and it just clutters up the understanding of this scene. If there is a suitable parallel in natural language (like outcast or renegade) you can try using that instead.

There should be a comma before 'Daralia', otherwise it looks like Sara is asking if Dar can find Daralia rather than asking Dar if she can find the maid.

This is a very uncommon sentence construction: "She knew the odds as well as Sara but still, “If she lives, I will find her.”" Better to just replace the comma with a period and make it two sentences.

This is a very clinical sentence that robs the topic of the emotion it should contain: "Dar felt her throat close with unaccustomed emotion." Try rewriting this with something more visceral sounding.

You're like... 90% of the way towards a nicely emotional scene, you're just getting in your own way. The key conflict here is what Dar can do, and what Sara wants from her. Keep the emotional connection and shared feelings of loss, but push away anything else not relevant to that conflict.

At least, that's what I would do.

Posts: 52 | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TempestDash:
Using a new term unique to your universe in the first 13 is taking up space. Nobody knows what a Hoyden is yet and it just clutters up the understanding of this scene.

Um. Hoyden is an actual word, if not one in common usage anymore.

Merriam Webster defines it as "a girl or woman of saucy, boisterous, or carefree behavior".

Since it is a word that seems to be causing confusion, however, maybe you want to consider changing it or putting off the description to a place where the context will help make the meaning clear.

Posts: 3941 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TempestDash
Member
Member # 9026

 - posted      Profile for TempestDash   Email TempestDash         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, my limited vocabulary has come to bite me in the rear a bit, but I was thrown by the capitalization. You present it as a proper noun, which the dictionary word doesn't have, so there is probably additional meaning you're going to assign to it later.

But it does throw out my suggestion of using a parallel word. I should have looked it up before adding my suggestion.

Meredith is probably right, though. Even if it IS a word, it's not casually accessible, and still might benefit from a substitution.

Posts: 52 | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I disagree strongly.

Can you imagine if Gene Wolfe had followed such advice in his award-winning tetralogy THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN?
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/968868.The_Book_of_the_New_Sun
http://www.ultan.org.uk/review-botns/

Don't treat your readers as imbeciles with no capacity to enjoy an unfamiliar word or to look it up if necessary.

"Hoyden" (i.e. a high-spirited-rude, boisterous, or saucy girl) is a perfectly fine word, and in its familiar unfamiliarity and in your use of it as a designation gives the opening lines both character and depth.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1419 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you Dr. Bob.

I first encountered the word “hoyden” in a fantasy novel where a young woman had the audacity to be running around in breeches (scandalous!), and I have always thought of it as a woman who breaks the “rules.” Since my MC chooses to live outside the normal role of a woman in a more or less typical fantasy world (i.e. feudal), it seemed fitting. I did look it up on several sites to be sure that my use of a descriptive word as a more definite title would not conflict with the actual definition.

The definitions that I found were:
“A girl or woman of saucy, boisterous, or carefree behavior” – the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
“A high-spirited, boisterous, or saucy girl” – the Free Dictionary by Farlex
“A wild boisterous girl; tomboy” – the Free Dictionary by Farlex
“A girl who behaves in a boyish manner” – the Free Dictionary by Farlex (Thesaurus)
“A boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy” – Dictionary.com
“A rude, uncultured or rowdy girl or woman” – Wiktionary
Etymology: Probably from Middle Dutch heiden, from Germanic heidano ‘heathen, gypsy’

These definitions not only fit what I am trying to do, but they also influenced some of the nuance of it.

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I do spend a bit of time (in small doses) trying to give you more of a sense of what it means for Dar to be classified as a Hoyden in the world in which she lives. She is an outcast, a pariah who is only tolerated when she is useful (usually as a bounty hunter).

Her history which I may or may not reveal this early on amounts to abusive foster care, medieval style. She chose a life as a Hoyden rather than remaining in an unbearable situation. This choice that she made at around age 14, has had consequences far beyond what she could have known at the time. She is nearly thirty when this story takes place, so she has lived half her life “on the road.” Even those who have a genuine affection for her don’t often show it, and rarely dare to associate with her too much, because of the social stigma.

The farmers, Dale and Sara, are only a little older than her, yet they have sort of adopted her (as much as she will let them) despite the village frowns. They are the closest thing that she has ever had, or may ever have, to family. That is why she is willing to put it all on the line for them, for their daughter, who (at least in age) could be her own.

The real trick is trying to get all of this into the story without an info dump like the one above. [Wink]

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
angel011
Member
Member # 9765

 - posted      Profile for angel011   Email angel011         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A bit of a suggestion: I don't think the word "hoyden" will work well if it's the only rarely used word in your book. In that case, it might stand out too much.

However, if it's a matter of style, if you intend to use other obscure words as well, like Gene Wolf did, then by all means, go for it.

Just my opinion, of course, and that's opinion of a non-native English speaker. [Smile]

Posts: 62 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry, I just seem to use the words that I know. It doesn't occur to me that they might be "obscure" until someone points it out. For instance, I am absolutely floored by all of this discussion over a single word.

Is there anything else that you liked or didn’t like in these first thirteen? Do you think that it flows well?

If you could tell me what other questions this raised, then I can make sure that they are answered in the subsequent text.

As for now, we can treat “Hoyden” as a made up title. Those who recognize the word might have a fuller understanding of what that means for Dar a little sooner, but I will make sure that there is enough description to define it for someone unfamiliar. If it was a made up title, then the introduction of it in the first thirteen does become a question of “should you or shouldn’t you.” I think that the rest of the lines are enough plain language to allow it, but I welcome your thoughts.

And thank you to all who have taken your time to comment, it is certainly not my intention to seem ungrateful.

-JK

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
redux
Member
Member # 9277

 - posted      Profile for redux   Email redux         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dear Josephine:

Anyone who has read Georgette Heyer (or Regencies in general) will instantly know the meaning of the word hoyden. For all others, there is always deciphering the word from context and, of course, reaching for the every handy dictionary. I strongly side with Dr. Bob and share his opinion.

If you need more readers, I will be happy to to take a look at your story.

Sincerely,
redux

Posts: 525 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TempestDash
Member
Member # 9026

 - posted      Profile for TempestDash   Email TempestDash         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I feel the 'Hoyden' discussion has gotten a little out of hand. It's up to the author to decide how accessible they want their work to be. If you don't mind the brief confusion for those unfamiliar with the term, and know that your prose will otherwise hold up in absence of that understanding, then leave it in. We only have 13 lines to judge at this point, you know better than I.

I wish to point out, however, that the first 13 (as I understand it) is a [u]sales pitch[/u], to convince someone who has other things to do to keep reading past the first page. Just because I suggest for clear and straightforward understanding in the first 13 doesn't mean I advocate the cleansing of all nuance and style from the remainder of the text.

To use the example stated, even the first 13 lines of Wolfe's "The Book of New Sun" contain nothing but easily accessible language and no universe-specific terms.

I suffer from sesquipedalian loquaciousness myself, but I know I have to get someone's attention first before throw a huge word at them.

Posts: 52 | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My thanks to all who offered to read! I've gotten some really great feedback and encouragement.

Thanks guys! [Big Grin]

-JK

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MartinV
Member
Member # 5512

 - posted      Profile for MartinV   Email MartinV         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You're welcome.
Posts: 1271 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jess
Member
Member # 9742

 - posted      Profile for Jess           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think this is a great start. my only nitpick is that I didn't realize the viewpoint character was a girl until several lines in. I think it was the way she described the pretty young maiden.
but then, it becomes clear very shortly thereafter, so it isn't that big of a deal. just something to consider. [Smile]
Do you still need readers for the first two chapters? message me if you do!

Posts: 73 | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
henriksen.laura
New Member
Member # 9783

 - posted      Profile for henriksen.laura   Email henriksen.laura         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love that you jumped right into the action, I instantly learned a lot about the character, the setting, and and the conflict. What I'm still waiting to see is what makes this different from so many other fantasy novels?
Feel free to send me your work, I might be interested in critiquing it.

Posts: 6 | Registered: Mar 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcmann
Member
Member # 9757

 - posted      Profile for rcmann   Email rcmann         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like it very much. One thing I hope you remember is that this is all subjective opinion. Every bit of it. We offer you our input, but this is YOUR story. It will only work if you are fully happy with it. You will not that even in a thread this short there are conflicting opinions. There is no such thing as a right way or a wrong way to write a story. There is only your way. All we can do is offer advice on what *we* think would make it more effective.

That said, I like the strong start. It felt just a touch abrupt at the very beginning, to me. But I am getting old, and most people now would probably prefer something that jumps up right away. For the rest, I think you will get more favorable responses by writing up to your readers, rather than dumbing down. For whatever that might be worth. It's why they make dictionaries.

Posts: 884 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MAP
Member
Member # 8631

 - posted      Profile for MAP           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is my take. Overall I think it is a good start, but you should try to work some scenery into the scene to ground the reader. Also try to show a little more especially in an emotional scene like this. It will bring the reader in.

Also I'm not sure what kind of POV you are going for. Sometimes it is hard to tell from 13 lines, but it seems like 3rd person limited, and if that is the case then you have a POV violation. If it is 3rd person omniscient, then I think you should open with a more narrator feel. If that makes sense.

quote:
Dar’s blood boiled. The horrific tale had become an all too common one, a pretty young maid stolen in the night, distraught parents begging for aid. (I think you can go a little deeper here. DO the parents of the missing girls usually come to Dar for help or just ask for help in general. How does Dar feel about this. Is it not her problem or does she usually try and fail. Is it because she is a bit of an outcast that she hasn't tried to help anyone before? I think this is a good place to give us a better idea of who Dar is and how she fits in this society) But this was different, this time it was Dale and Sara with tear streaked faces and wild haunted eyes. (Give us a hint of where they are. Is Dale and Sara on Dar's doorstep or in the middle of a field? Is it the middle of the night or early in the morning? Work some descriptors into the scene. We don't need much, but give the reader something) The farmers had always been so kind (I think you can go deeper here to. How were they kind? Did they give her food when she had none or go out of their way to say talk to her when everyone else shunned her? Did they stick up to her when everyone else wanted to run her out of town? Be more specific. What did they do to show her kindness?), even to a Hoyden like Dar. They deserved far better than this.

“Can you find her Daralia?” Sara’s voice was hollow and rough, she knew that none taken had ever returned, yet there was still that single stubborn note of reckless hope. (I'm assuming the she in this sentence refers to Sara. If that is true, this is a POV violation. How whould Dar know what Sara is thinking? The scene so far feels so firmly in Dar's POV that slipping into Sara's pulled me out of the story. Either describe how Sara looks from Dar's POV or give the story an omniscient narrative voice)

Dar felt her throat close with unaccustomed emotion. She knew the odds as well as Sara but still, “If she lives, I will find her.” It was too much to promise, and not nearly enough.

She left the couple to their weeping. (where did she leave the couple? At the kitchen table? In the middle of the field? Give us some idea of where these people are) At their urgent request...

As always this is just my opinion. Do what you feel is right.

Good luck with this.

Posts: 1081 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Josephine Kait
Member
Member # 8157

 - posted      Profile for Josephine Kait   Email Josephine Kait         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks guys! I received a couple of really helpful crits, and am currently rewriting those early chapters, though the first 13 remains largely unchanged. (I put in the missing comma, and changed a word here and there. [Wink] )

As soon as the rewrite is complete I will happily take you all up on the offers to read.

Thanks especially MAP for pointing out the POV violation, I think I found a reasonable fix. I have already been working on fleshing out the setting and answering the questions that you posed in the closely following text. I am somewhat gratified that the tone at least has you asking those particular questions. I will however take a closer look at my word choices and placement, to see if I can improve the 13.

Thanks again for all of your comments and suggestions!

-JK

Posts: 405 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  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