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Author Topic: The Healers (impulsive working title) - Adult fantasy
Stoat
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The fantasy part of this is not immediately obvious, because I intend the story to rest on the moral struggles of the characters and less on the invented world. Is her struggle relatable? Does the wasp seem just repulsive enough to set up the dilemma of saving something you're afraid of? Thank you for your thoughts!

UPDATED VERSION:
Sun glinted off the lake and into Lyla's eyes. She swung her legs to the east side of the dock. Through the cyan and magenta haze of sunspots fading from her retinas, she saw a red wasp struggling on the water’s surface. She scowled. She hated wasps — their dangling needle-legs, their audacious manner that said, “I know I can sting and not die.” But she also hated to watch the struggle, the process of drowning. Perhaps it was the fault of too many anthropomorphic fairy tales: animals with voices, pocket watches, top hats, friendships. As the wasp's sharp legs clicked and flailed, Lyla felt its panic spread in her own chest, and then her arms and legs prickled with adrenaline. She grasped a stick and drew a line across the water's surface until the stick gently nudged the wasp.

FIRST POSTED VERSION:
Sun glinted off the lake and into Lyla's eyes. She swung her legs to the east side of the dock, and through the cyan and magenta haze of sunspots fading from her retinas, she saw a horrid red wasp struggling on the water’s surface. She scowled. She hated wasps — their dangling needle-legs, their audacious manner that said, “I know I can sting and not die.” But she also hated to watch the struggle, the process of drowning. Perhaps it was the fault of too many anthropomorphic fairy tales: animals with voices, pocket watches, friendships, heartbreaks. As the wasp's sharp legs and body segments clicked and flailed, Lyla felt its panic spread in her own chest, and then the old impulse. She grasped a stick and drew a line across the water's surface until the stick gently nudged the wasp.

[ March 05, 2015, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: Stoat ]

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Jennica Dotson
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The writing itself I like! I do find this relatable, and I liked all of the thoughts from Lyla's POV: the "audacious manner" that wasps have, blaming her softheartedness on anthropomorphic fairytales (that actually makes a good deal of sense). I like that she feels the wasp's panic in her own chest. That too is very relatable to me. I am always interested in moral struggles, so I'm interested to tag along and see what bigger dilemmas will come into play.

This section alone actually brought up a question that interests me, which is, Is Lyla saving the wasp because it is the moral thing to do? Or is it actually a purely selfish choice? Because it seems to me that she doesn't actually care about the wasp, she just doesn't want to suffer along with it. But then, are those the same thing, in the end?

Well. Whether or not I'm making sense anymore, I found this interesting enough and I'd be willing to stick around to watch it grow *more* interesting.

A few minor iffy moments:
1. I wasn't sure how "friendships, heartbreaks" related to the subject of the sentence. Animals and pocket watches make sense, but "friendships, heartbreaks" confused me.
2. I'm not keen on the phrase "body segments."
3. I'm also unsure how I feel about your reference to "the old impulse." On the one hand, it does make me curious. On the other hand…I don't know how to describe it exactly, but it annoys me a little. Maybe I feel like this isn't the time to introduce the idea that this is an "old impulse"?
4. I think I'd separate the second sentence into two sentences. So, "…of the dock. Through the cyan…"
5. I don't think you need the word "horrid."

Aside from that, while I like this scene, I'm not convinced that it is where the novel should *start*. But it's hard for me to say for certain without knowing more about the novel.

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Bent Tree
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I thought that this worked. I would give it a chance if I had a glimpse of the cover and thought the premise interesting. Perhaps a couple grammar or style edits. Jenica pointed out some of that though.
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Bent Tree
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Where are you at on this? If you need a reader for a chapter send it along.
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Stoat
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Thanks for all the help and feedback, Jennica and Bent. I see where you're coming from on all the iffy moments and the suggested fixes are great. Your critique of them rang true immediately. I'll be at it again soon and would love to send along the rest of this passage, Bent, once I integrate Jennica's suggestions. It's still pretty short because, at least for now, I'm imagining it as an introduction. Thanks again!
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