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 Short Works » A Jungle of Silence

   
Author Topic: A Jungle of Silence
SR Dev
Member
Member # 9986

 - posted      Profile for SR Dev   Email SR Dev         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Piece is very short, 1,300 words, would love for someone to take a look at it if they have time. Here's the hook:

January in Caribou, Maine, and heat and humidity poisoned the air. Marina slapped her grimy hands on her skinned knees, bent over, panting. She couldn't walk anymore. Spiked Kapok trees towered above her, their trunks consumed by Strangler Figs, leaves forming a canopy of darkness.

"John?" Sweat pooled in the small of her back before trickling downward. More water she couldn't afford to lose. "We're not going to find anything out here."

John stopped a few paces in front of her, resting one hand on his empty holster, the other on a tangle of vines.

No response. Typical. He always gave her the silent treatment when he knew she was right. They had no idea which way civilization was. No idea if it even existed anymore.

[ January 29, 2013, 10:37 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

Posts: 37 | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll take a look at it SR Dev. But, before I do, do you want a critique or an edit? The difference? With a critique I give my opinion on the 'key' elements of the story: milieu building, character building, character growth, conflict, plot, atmosphere, tension and, occasionally, a pat on the back. With an edit I take an axe to you ms and cut and add stuff willy-nilly -- all with comments.

Phil.

Posts: 582 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SR Dev
Member
Member # 9986

 - posted      Profile for SR Dev   Email SR Dev         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
An edit would be lovely.

And sorry that I ran over Kathleen! Whoops. [Smile] Thanks for the quick snip.

Posts: 37 | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
telflonmail
Member
Member # 9501

 - posted      Profile for telflonmail   Email telflonmail         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Grumpy should give it a nice chop.

Here's an idea from this that IMHO would be a better start to grab the reader.

Take the last sentence from the second paragraph followed by the first sentence of the same paragraph.

Take the first sentence of the fourth paragraph.

Take the second sentence of the fourth paragraph through the end of the paragraph.

Posts: 79 | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just a question: How familiar are you with Caribou, Maine?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1415 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bruce King
Member
Member # 10018

 - posted      Profile for Bruce King   Email Bruce King         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like this opening.

Obviously we are in an alternate or different world when Maine is like a tropical jungle. However, I immediately tripped over your sentence structure with, "...and heat, and humidity..."

I like alternate dystopian story worlds, they are fun to explore. [Smile]

Posts: 15 | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SR Dev
Member
Member # 9986

 - posted      Profile for SR Dev   Email SR Dev         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"We're not going to find anything out here." Marina slapped her grimy hands on her skinned knees, bent over, panting.

It was January in Caribou, Maine, but heat and humidity poisoned the air. Sweat pooled in the small of her back, trickling downward. More water she couldn't afford to lose. "John?"

Typical. He always gave her the silent treatment when he knew she was right. They had no idea which way civilization was. No idea if it even existed anymore.

(Spiked Kapok trees towered above her, their trunks consumed by Strangler Figs, leaves forming a canopy of darkness.)

I know this runs over the first thirteen, but I put this in parenthesis to ask if it feels like now we're talking about the rainforest too late in the opening.


I have to say know little about Caribou, Maine, other than what google tells me. I just picked a place that would feel the "coldest" so that having it be a rainforest would feel very arresting. Is there something important I should know?

Version 3:


"We're not going to find anything out here." Marina slapped her grimy hands on her skinned knees, bent over, panting.

It was January in Caribou, Maine, but heat and humidity poisoned the air. Sweat pooled in the small of her back, trickling downward. More water she couldn't afford to lose. "John?"

John stopped a few paces in front of her, resting one hand on his empty holster, the other on a tangle of vines, saying nothing.

Typical. He always gave her the silent treatment when he knew she was right. "Do we even know where we're going?"

Spiked Kapok trees towered above her, their trunks consumed by Strangler Figs, leaves forming a canopy of darkness. They had no idea which way civilization was. No idea if it even existed anymore.

.

[ January 30, 2013, 01:59 PM: Message edited by: SR Dev ]

Posts: 37 | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
skadder
Member
Member # 6757

 - posted      Profile for skadder   Email skadder         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think you need to capitalise the names of the types of tree. I personally prefer a fresh line for dialogue. You may have chosen to do it the way you have because of the 13 line rule--I don't know.
You also have avoided any form of dialogue tags, but I think you'd benefit from one or two to avoid the momentary pause in the reader's mind when they are forced to decide who is doing the speaking.

Posts: 2987 | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SR Dev:
I know this runs over the first thirteen, but I put this in parenthesis to ask if it feels like now we're talking about the rainforest too late in the opening.

Actually, neither of your two rewrites go over the 13-line limit. I don't count spaces between paragraphs when I count the 13 lines.
Posts: 7995 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SR Dev
Member
Member # 9986

 - posted      Profile for SR Dev   Email SR Dev         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh okay. Thanks. [Smile]
Here's where I'm at with it now:

"We're not going to find anything out here." Marina slapped her grimy hands on her skinned knees to catch her breath. It was January in Caribou, Maine, but sweat pooled in the small of her back, salty, sticky and hot. More water she couldn't afford to lose.

A few paces ahead, her husband stopped walking and rested his arm against the buttress of a kapok tree half consumed by strangler figs.

"John?" she asked.

Palm leaves canopied his face in darkness, but she could tell he

Posts: 37 | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally, I think it's a backward step. I am sending my edit of the story in a few minutes. I think you have other things to worry about rather than a 'hook' in the first 13.

Phil.

Posts: 582 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SR Dev
Member
Member # 9986

 - posted      Profile for SR Dev   Email SR Dev         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It will be interesting to see what you have to say, Phil. I'm looking forward to hearing about my soon to be new, many worries. [Smile]
-S

Posts: 37 | Registered: Dec 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bruce King
Member
Member # 10018

 - posted      Profile for Bruce King   Email Bruce King         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like the opening with exposition through dialogue. It creates a story question that makes me want to read more and find out what they are looking for.

The only thing I tripped on was the choice of the word "slapped". It seems like she would "grab" her knees or something similar. Also, you might dump the word "salty" since that connotes taste and maybe overkill anyway.

Otherwise, I would say much improved compared to the first draft.

Posts: 15 | Registered: Jan 2013  |  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