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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Fire on the Sea

   
Author Topic: Fire on the Sea
DeepDreamer
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First draft of a short story of about six or sven thousand words as it stands now. Any feedback on this opening is welcome.


Fire on the Sea

Three figures rested inside the confines of the cave. Their narrow faces were half-illuminated by the dim light of the flames licking at the dying embers of a small fire. Two of them lay sprawled out, while the third, Tai, had curled himself up into a ball.

"You want to be WHAT?" Pyncheon roared.

Tai answered meekly, "A knight."

The air in the crowded cave weighed heavy in the silence that followed. Wanting to become a knight would perhaps be fanciful, or noble, or perhaps even a logical choice, depending on your birth. In Tai's case, it was just short of ridiculous, and he knew it.

For, you see, Tai had been born a dragon.

Dragons do not want to be knights. They terrorize them, chase them off, steal lovely maidens from them, and burn them to a crisp on occasion. Pyncheon had reiterated this speech to Tai so many times that he could say it in his sleep, but still Tai believed not a word of it.


Posts: 34 | Registered: Apr 2007  | Report this post to a Moderator
Keeley
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Interesting. I'm in a dragon sort of mood since the novel I'm working on has one as a strong secondary character.

I only had one problem and that was with Tai. Why doesn't he believe the stories of what dragons do to knights? I would expect him to not believe the stories about knights killing dragons, taking over their hoards, and stealing the lovely maidens back.

Just my thoughts. Good job otherwise. If you still need readers after Jan 1, I'll take a look.


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Survivor
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Play your narrator earlier, and probably a bit stronger as well.
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Minister
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It'll probably take me a few days to get to it, but if you'd still like me to critique it, I'd be glad to. I like the idea.
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mikemunsil
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I'm with Survivor. Delete your first paragraph and start with Pyncheon's comment.

quote:
Their narrow faces were half-illuminated by the dim light of the flames licking at the dying embers of a small fire.

If you DO keep this sentence, then consider removing adjectives to make a stronger sentence. "Their faces were illuminated by flames licking at embers of a small fire."

I like the idea of flames licking. It resonates well with the idea of a flame -throwing dragon.

Take a look at the First Five Pages post and djdvdakota's challenge in the Writing Class forum for some more ideas and comments on 'adjectivizing'.

[This message has been edited by mikemunsil (edited December 26, 2004).]


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Survivor
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Actually, I would say that the narrator is basically invisible except for the line "For, you see, Tai had been born a dragon." The italics are added to show exactly where the narrator is found.

Without those three words--which indicate a narrator speaking directly to the audience--this passage is simply anemic "floppy" POV. That would make this opening completely unacceptable.

But with only those three words, the narrator is still rather shy of engaging my interest. It's more of a casual wave in the direction of the audience than a real effort to hold our interest.


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