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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » "Wolf"-Working Title-Fantasy-5200 words

   
Author Topic: "Wolf"-Working Title-Fantasy-5200 words
Merlion-Emrys
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Greetings all. I've been sadly away for awhile due to insanity and things but in a few less apocalyptic moments I did get a little writing done. I'll take comments on the opening, but full reads are always preferred. Thank you.


Emrys’s patience was beginning to fray. The forest night was hot and oppressive—he hated being hot more than almost anything. Almost. Not more than being badgered about things upon which he’d already made his position clear, however.
“Lord Emrys, I know that you must understand our position. I have no doubt that you support our stand against them.”
Being called “lord” was another thing he disliked almost as much as being hot. “Gheren, I keep telling you not to call me that. I also keep telling you that yes, I support your peoples position and your decision to stand against the mainstream Celaran society. I will do what I can to help you. However, I will not fight your battles for you…”
“We are not asking you too,” the other man interrupted.

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snapper
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Welcome back Merlion,

This sentence reads awkward.

Not more than being badgered about things upon which he'd already made his position clear, however.

It isn't a double negative, but you sure does feel like one.

Hope the problems you referred in this post are behind you.

Good luck with the story..




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extrinsic
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The strongest feature of this opening for me is the clash between Emrys and Gheren. To a small degree, their clash characterizes Emrys, though as an impatient, intolerant, and overbearing master. I'm not sure that's intended. I don't have much empathy for Emrys though.

"Emrys's" reads as Emeryses. I don't know whether to be astonished or frustrated that the first word of an opening turns me off. Names that end in S are tricky when used in possessive case. A general principle is, if the possessive S is pronounced, the second S may follow the possessive apostrophe. If the possessive S is not pronounced, the second S may or will cause a reading hiccup.

I think, though, that the first sentence summarizes and explains the paragraph's and the opening's meaning. The sentence is also an effect put before portraying the causes the paragraph's descriptions depict on their own. The sentence tells me what this opening means, leaving no mystery to engage my curiosity.

This dialogue is also a summary and explanation and vague: "'Lord Emrys, I know that you must understand our position. I have no doubt that you support our stand against them.'" That reads to me like "As you know, Bob,' dialogue. What position? Who are "them"? If the "position" and "them" are, as later stated, opposition to mainstream Celaran society, consider giving a hint of why that cues what "position" and "them" mean in terms of wants and problems for Gheren, if not Emrys. For me, this opening goes from too little mystery to too much mystery.

This opening is to me a scene where Gheren comes to Emrys asking for help. Damon Knight, in Creating Short Fiction, questions if the person asking for assistance or the person who asks is a stronger viewpoint character. Knight says the character with the problem is the strongest viewpoint character. Otherwise, Knight explains, if the person asked for help has no personal stake in the problem, that person can just walk away at anytime, as will readers. This opening places Emrys as the viewpoint character of the scene and Gheren as the one asking for help.

On the other hand, refusals, like refusing to help, are a mainstay of folktale openings. If refusals soon develop into a personal problem for the refuser, they develop into dramatic complication that moves plot forward. They are strongest, though, when they cue into a personal complication of the refuser at the moment of first refusal.

Three more mechanical style glitches: "that yes, I". Words like "yes" take a comma before and after when they are in a sentence's middle. "your peoples position", people's takes a possessive apostrophe. And "'We are not asking you too'". Too is an adverb meaning besides or also. To is a preposition and I think the word that is intended to mean to do something.

This opening signals to me the whole is raw and rough and pending much more development. I resist reading raw drafts because they are subject to substantive revisions that may obviate the efforts I expend. In any case, the guidance I've offered is for overall writing guidance.

[ October 10, 2013, 01:54 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Merlion-Emrys
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Wow, thanks for all of that. I don't understand a good deal of it but I still appreciate it.

In simple terms Gheren is the villain and Emrys is the hero...sort of. He's a good guy, but this story basically represents me wanting to have him make some...questionable decisions. That leads me to one comment I'd like to ask a little more detail on:

quote:
The strongest feature of this opening for me is the clash between Emrys and Gheren. To a small degree, their clash characterizes Emrys, though as an impatient, intolerant, and overbearing master. I'm not sure that's intended. I don't have much empathy for Emrys though.
Can you tell me what specifically gives you this impression? It's exactly the opposite of my intention so I'd like to understand where I goofed up.

Also...yeah the possessive S is weird. I always pronounce them and so always write them as such. It always seems incomplete to me if not pronounced.

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extrinsic
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Emrys is inpatient, gruff, intolerant, irritated, and short, disrespectful toward Gheren. Since Emrys is the good guy, I'd like him if he were a little more courteous in such trying circumstances. And since Gheren is a villain, I'd dislike him if he were more disagreeable.
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Merlion-Emrys
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Hmm interesting. I'm trying to project that Gheren has been bugging him about the same thing for some time, hence the irritation. I shall have to consider if I think there's a better way to indicate that ongoing nature in a short space. Thanks again.
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