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 » Amalgamation 1st 13, revised from the revision

   
Author Topic: Amalgamation 1st 13, revised from the revision
SASpencer
Member
Member # 10044

 - posted      Profile for SASpencer   Email SASpencer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm still at it:

Her scent drew me. Lilac with a hint of vanilla, a twist of underlying musk meant she was an un-bonded Hulldri female searching for a mate.
Although my intuition said not to turn the corner on my way to the Tavern, I did not heed its warning. Her cerulean eyes shining in the moonlight came towards me. My ears shivered from their tips to their base at my head. She was familiar; she had slighted me before but I still smiled, showing my comely canines. Suggestively, my elbow lightly touched her long white filo plumes cascading from her head and ending at her waist as she passed. Maybe this time...
She said, “You smell half-breed.”
My ears drooped. Hulldris are always rude, to everyone. Who

Posts: 67 | Registered: Mar 2013  |  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 like this opening much better, but I'll still offer a few suggestions that you can trash or consider as you will. (I'm not saying these suggestions are correct, but they are what popped into my head as I read).

Line 2:
...vanilla, and a twist of underlying musk indicating an un-bonded Hulldri female in heat.

Line 4: perhaps drop the "Her", since you've established (very well) her gender.
"Cerulean eyes..."

Line 5: Omit everything after "shivered".

Line 6: Period after "familiar". I like how this all builds tension and I wish to feel his continued wariness of rejection. However, if you wish to demonstrate his willingness to respond to her pheromonal signals and hope for their fulfillment, then split the sentence, begining the next with "I smiled, showing my canines," omitting the modifiers (e.g. "comely" is something she would need determine, or do you wish to make him vain and unlikeable?)

Line 7: Omit "suggestively".
My elbow lightly touched her filoplumes,... "Filoplume" is a single word, btw, and is an avian feature, thus creating some confusion of whether she is a mammal or a bird...unless she is wearing filoplumes as an adornment to attract a mate (a reverse gender feature than in our own world where it is the male species who have evolved such displays to attract females). Regardless, I like this image a lot. I only believe you need "show" it more, especially as most of your readers will not know what a filoplume is. E.g. "...filoplumes, long soft feathers that cascaded from her head to waist like a snowy cape." Or some such descriptive element that best captures your vision.

Line 9: Perhaps add some facial expression of her displeasure. "Her nose wrinkled as we passed. 'You smell half-breed,' she said."

Line 10: Love it!

Line 11: Perhaps period after "rude" and a separate fragment "To everyone" for emphasis (and perhaps for his attempt to not take the response personally for his own now-revealed social stigmata).

Thanks for sharing this.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1415 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  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 
You need a comma before "half-breed" because she's addressing him, and the address term should be set off from the rest of what she says.
Posts: 7994 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SASpencer
Member
Member # 10044

 - posted      Profile for SASpencer   Email SASpencer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dr. Bob, thanks, very helpful comments. They evolved from dinosaurs so at your suggestion I'll write them more dinosaur/bird-like changing the canines to serrated teeth. I've decided they could develop external ears for better hearing, though. Who knows, maybe I'll give them pouches, too. Kangaroo-like birds. They can carry their eggs around in them. Green eggs, like the Emu. Oops, I need a reality check, better fly back to earth, now. Kidding aside, I have learned more and learned it quickly on this website than in I have in years.

Kathleen, I always need help with commas and word order. Thanks.

Posts: 67 | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
You need a comma before "half-breed" because she's addressing him, and the address term should be set off from the rest of what she says.

Interesting, Kathleen.
I read this differently, that she is stating he smells like a half-breed--i.e. the equivalent of "You sound Greek" or "You look Jewish", in which case there should be no comma.

That she was able to smell his mixed genetic make-up disappoints him, perhaps shames him. This presents his half-breed status as a story conflict, both internal (his low self-image) and external (the prejudice in his world toward half-breeds).

To blatantly call someone a half-breed, be it true or no, is "rude", the equivalent of calling someone's baby "ugly" even though it may be true.

However, if she is truly commenting that his own scent is offensive to her (since he can smell hers), and if she is denoting his half-breed genome as physically self-evident (though we are given no indication that it is) then, as you point out, a comma need be inserted between "smell" and "half-breed."

Funny how we can read the same few words and derive such different meanings and inferences.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1415 | Registered: Aug 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 
quote:
Originally posted by SASpencer:
Dr. Bob, thanks, very helpful comments. They evolved from dinosaurs so at your suggestion I'll write them more dinosaur/bird-like changing the canines to serrated teeth. I've decided they could develop external ears for better hearing, though. Who knows, maybe I'll give them pouches, too. Kangaroo-like birds. They can carry their eggs around in them. Green eggs, like the Emu. Oops, I need a reality check, better fly back to earth, now. Kidding aside, I have learned more and learned it quickly on this website than in I have in years.

Do this later. Stay in the action of the moment. You can dole out these additional details later...perhaps as your protagonist looks at the menagerie in the tavern he is heading to.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1415 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  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 
I considered your reading of it, Dr. Bob, but decided that if SASpencer had meant it that way, she would have included something on the order of "like a" where I recommended a comma.

The context of the whole scene seemed to me to point toward the need for a comma, especially since the next sentence shows that the POV character takes it as rudeness.

Posts: 7994 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SASpencer
Member
Member # 10044

 - posted      Profile for SASpencer   Email SASpencer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Eventually I describe their looks, Vaytirs and Hulldris, and he has characteristics of both.
Posts: 67 | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pidream
Member
Member # 9544

 - posted      Profile for pidream   Email pidream         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Her scent drew me. Lilac with a hint of vanilla, a twist of underlying musk meant she was an un-bonded Hulldri female searching for a mate.
1.I’d change Liilac and vanilla to something more exotic in keeping with this strange new world you're showing us. Maybe- carin buds with a hint of essi spice (made up words but it helps create a more textured and different world, for me, others chime in if they disagree.
Although my intuition said not to turn the corner on my way to the Tavern, I did not heed its warning.
2.I would cut- Although because it just sounds and flows better for me.
Her cerulean eyes shining in the moonlight came towards me. My ears shivered from their tips to their base at my head.
3.Great showing I am there with him.
She was familiar; she had slighted me before but I still smiled, showing my comely canines.
4.I would change the word comely as it has a more feminine connotation, to me. Maybe- sharp or back to pointy, of even fierce.
Suggestively, my elbow lightly touched her long white filo plumes cascading from her head and ending at her waist as she passed. Maybe this time...
5.This shows a lot which is great, but I would change the word order a bit. Maybe- Cut suggestively and say something like- As we passed, I lightly brushed my elbow along her long white filoplumes cascading from her head to her waist. Maybe this time. . . .
She wrinkled her nose and said, “You smell half-breed.”
My ears drooped. Hulldris are always rude, to everyone. Who
6.My ears dropped (great showing). I would change the next line just a little to something like- Hulldris, rude to everyone, always.
SAS this was really so much better showing- Bravo. Keeping being in the character, seeing through their eyes and feeling what they feel. I am not pointing out much of what has not already been said, but good work.

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jun 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SASpencer
Member
Member # 10044

 - posted      Profile for SASpencer   Email SASpencer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, Pidream, you come up with good suggestions, my improvement you noted has been because of them.
Posts: 67 | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jennywinnie
Member
Member # 8510

 - posted      Profile for Jennywinnie   Email Jennywinnie         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pidream, this opening is full of great sensory cues and information. It really paints a picture. The only crit I have is in the content, not so much the technique.

I'm a fan of taking a moment with beginnings. If this is the beginning to an opening chapter, please ignore me. If this is the opening to a novel, think it through. Ask yourself, what is your theme? What are you going to say throughout the book?

Of course I have no idea, so perhaps this totally fits. Maybe Ironic romance is the theme. Perhaps this is a symbol of coming so close and yet still not getting there. Just make sure that this image you display in some form or fashion preps us for the story you are about to embark on.

Act One of any story...and especially an opening must do many things. The MOST IMPORTANT thing it does it introduce your main character and his time and place and his situation.

You've introduced his time and place, and in fantasy and scifi this takes more efort than other genres. But consider adding in a few little lines to showcase not just WHERE he is, but WHO he is as a person. We get it some. He's failure. He's lustful. He wants and is never satisfied. But is that who he is? Was that an intentional choice you made? Really, we can show who our characters are by their responses to their problems. So give me a little more about how he responds inwardly to being jilted.

It just felt incredibly external, and that is fine as far as most fantasy and scifi, but I write in those genres too, and I learn from Literary and other genres that a piece can feel so much more depth when the internal is considered just as much as the external. Show, don't tell...of course... but show reaction. Show his desire. You describe the girl, but how does he respond to her. We got his physical ear tingle (which was awesome!) but there should be a moment where he thinks me might succeed. Give him a twinge of hope. She smiles, looks at the floor. He blushes all over, his head goes fuzzy... Also hint at who he is. Is he human? Warrior? Mage? Set up not jut the environment but his part in that environment. Maybe when his ear tingles his hands tighten around his cloak, or sword hilt, or money purse... what have you.

So setting and world building...good. Now bring his character forward in these lines and I think you'll have it.

Posts: 70 | Registered: Mar 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rolag
Member
Member # 10084

 - posted      Profile for Rolag   Email Rolag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hello, I'm new here.

You've got lots of great comments to work with. The only additional thing I would say is - how does the Hulldri move towards and pass by the half breed? For example does she slink out of an alley and pass him slowly with a provocative sway in her step? Her body language coupled with her scent will impact on his expectations of the encounter. I'm guessing that as she passes close enough for him to nudge her filoplumes, her movements are designed to draw him in even though she is prepared to reject him.

Posts: 16 | Registered: May 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