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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First thirteen New Untitled

   
Author Topic: First thirteen New Untitled
andersonmcdonald
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The hounds of hell were having a good night; otherwise, they would've had me. My leg was broken, one arm nearly cut clean off - plenty of scent for them to pick up on. I lay in a shallow ravine, waiting for my soul to leak out and listening to the patter of predatory feet on the ridge above me. At least three of them, from the sound of their panting. Bastards were waddling, they were so gorged with flesh. I wondered if I had known some of their dinner.
Thundered grumbled off to the west, but there was no breeze where I lay. It was dead calm. Sweat soaked my tunic, dripped from my mud-crusted forehead and blinded my eyes. I didn't feel much pain, believe it or not. The giant Swerg who'd bested me and sliced my arm made a good back rest, just pudgy enough to

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Grumpy old guy
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Overall, an intriguing beginning, however, I think that the situational information should be given first. Something like:

I lay in a shallow ravine and despite the thunder grumbling in the west, there was no wind. et al...

Just a personal preference.

Now, some 'particularity' wouldn't go astray either; which leg is broken, which arm nearly cut off. And, 'plenty of scent', does that refer to the smell of blood or his body odour. There is also the issue of consitancy, for me. He's lying in the ravine and given what you've written, he can't see the hounds of hell, but he then tells us they're waddling. How does he know?

The aside, 'believe it or not', is the writer talking directly to the reader, a no, no as I understand it. The last nit is about 'giant Swerg'. Would deleting the word giant make it a stronger sentence or a weaker one? Stronger, I think.

Hope this is of some use to you.

Phil.

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lizluka
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Interesting opening, definitely raises lots of exciting questions for the reader:)

One thing that raised a flag for me was 'one arm nearly cut clean off.' The first thing I imagined was someone who's arm is literally dangling by a thread, in which case they are probably bleeding out and do not have the presence of mind for the observations your character is giving us. So my next thought was, okay, then the character is exaggerating the severity of the cut--which would tell us something about your character's personality. Not sure which one, if either, was intended so maybe some clarity there would be good.

I loved your opening sentence--on the second read through. Even if it's grammatically correct, the semicolon followed quickly by a comma threw off the flow for me the first time. I feel like if the flow wasn't interrupted then the sentence has great potential for grabbing the reader's attention and providing some immediate context. Also, the word 'good' in the sentence is a little counter-intuitive. If the hounds of hell want the character, and they're having a good night, then shouldn't they be getting what they want? Maybe consider replacing the word 'good' with something else. Just food for thought. Hope it helps!

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LDWriter2
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Intriguing. Over all it sounds like he had been in a battle. You have some sensory images which is good.

Personally I would like more information on the story, even though we are dealing with just 13 lines here. How long is it? Fantasy I would assume. I think I would keep reading to see if he survives after all or if the story is a flashback on how he got in that position.

I too found the opening line contradictory but I think you wanted it that way. It rouses curiosity. If he could tell they were waddling from the sound of their patter I think you should say so because it does sound funny that way it is.

Mostly I think It's okay the way it is, just a couple of tweaks.

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andersonmcdonald
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Thanks for the comments. Yes, it's fantasy. Should've mentioned that. The hounds were having a "good night" because they'd had plenty to eat. I've made some changes that I hope clears up some of the details.
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Tryndakai
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. . . Hmm, I actually find nothing wrong with the intro as written. [Smile] It has prompted quite a few questions in my mind--but they're the kind I expect to have answered in-story within the next couple of pages. In order as they occurred to me, they are:

~Are they real, literal "hounds of hell?" And what are the specific "rules" about such creatures in this author's world, I wonder?" (The second part of that question doesn't actually have to be answered as quickly . . . I'm just curious.)

~Ouch, is the character going to go through the rest of the story with one arm? (though the "flashback" angle LDWriter brought up hadn't occurred to me. That could be interesting, too.)

~Has he been in a battle of some sort, that he would "know" their dinner?

~Ooh, what's a Swerg?


Lizluka's point about the arm bleeding out is a very good one, too--unless he's gotten a tourniquet on it, that kind of wound would bleed out in under a minute, as I understand it.

Overall, I'm intrigued. [Smile] I liked the "believe it or not" meta moment, myself--gives more of an idea of the character's personality (which I'm taking as wry/sarcastic), and the overall feel of your writing style, which is slightly less-than-formal. Which is fun. [Smile] I've actually already started to hear the text in my head in a "real, audible" voice, which is evidence that your character has already come to life somewhat in my head, which is pretty good. [Smile]

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andersonmcdonald
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Thanks!

"I liked the "believe it or not" meta moment, myself--gives more of an idea of the character's personality (which I'm taking as wry/sarcastic), and the overall feel of your writing style, which is slightly less-than-formal. Which is fun. I've actually already started to hear the text in my head in a "real, audible" voice, which is evidence that your character has already come to life somewhat in my head, which is pretty good."

That's what I was hoping for.

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Brent Silver
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How many words is this story?
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andersonmcdonald
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I'm not sure. It isn't finished yet. But I expect it to be anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 words. When it's done I'll send it out to anyone who wants to read.
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Twiggy
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'Believe it or not' actually threw me out of the story. I was absorbed until then.
I do like the start but I think something needs to happen. So far, its mostly telling us about things that happened before.
Great imagery.

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Bumbus_McGee
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"Believe it or not" didn't throw me out of the story.
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BoldWriter
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I don't personally like the 'believe it or not,' but it's a personal preference.

Including it makes the intro sound like he is actually talking to someone, which works from the first person PoV.

Excluding it (which would be my preference) makes the statement exact. It could be referred to as a qualifier. In a book I read (On Writing by Stephen King, I think) the author eschews the use of qualifiers, saying that specific statements make for stronger prose, and I agree.

I don't think you need it here, because I think that the statement has more impact without it.

On it's own, the expression 'Believe it or not' will generally lead someone to presume that the speaker is, in fact, lying.

Food for thought.

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andersonmcdonald
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Thanks for the comments and help! Much appreciated
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GhostWriter
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Good hook at the beginning! Leaves some great questions.

I think that the action and the description of the surroundings could be mixed better together I.E. making intro one paragraph, grouping the actions and descriptions together to add to the "intense" effect.

It couldn't hurt to add more description, it only adds to the stressful moment. IE "The scent of my crimson red blood was more than enough for those demon dogs to smell me." etc..


The sentence "... were waddling, they were so gorged with flesh." threw me off of the feeling. I actually visualized them waddling like penguins (I know, immature, but it happens). I would reword to keep a "scared" ambiance; if that was what you were going for. The "believe it or not" statement also threw off the tense moment, adding a more comical/lose moment. (unless you were trying for that, I would omit.)

"I wondered if I had known some of their dinner." I like this sentence! Makes me ask many questions and draws me in.

(if anyone has any corrections on how I edited, its my first time posting a critique, so lay it on! Haha I need to figure this out some time or another.)

Thanks for posting your story!

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