This is topic Getting It Home in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Okay, another try. Finished this one today.

half of it is in the same setting as "Interrupted Poker Game" if you read those 13 lines.

Anyone wants to crit the whole thing? 3,100 words. I appreciate any help.

So enjoy:

On my side I waited for a response. The warehouse boosts some strong guardians. And I just came in through a window instead of the main door. But you do what's necessary when real hell hounds are snapping at your heels.
When nothing happened after a minute I rolled to my stomach and pushed myself up. I stood and brushed dust off of my full length black leather jacket and adjusted my leather hat. My staff rose on its own when I put my hand out.
Yeah, a staff. IÕm one of those; a wizard and staffs are not only a symbols of our ability they can be used to channel our power. Mine is six feet long, one inch taller than me,

Posted by Brendan (Member # 6044) on :
Two things stuck in my craw this time. The opening sentence was too vague. Sometimes that can work as a hook, but it didn't for me because, if its eliminated, you wouldn't know you missed it. More importantly, it makes me ask too many questions, which stopped me reading further for a little. Is he lying on his side, or floating, or leaning? He is waiting, but for what? Is he reading a book while waiting? Yes, some of these are answered later (or they fall away), but by the time I understoond what is going on, I had to make a shift in imagination from what I thought was going on. Just a little more information in that opening sentence will help.

Second, "Mine is six feet long, one inch..." I need a reason to care for this information, which isn't apparent. The other information about the staff is great, but this line makes it come across like an infodump because it breaks the tension unless I need to know this immediately (which, being the second sentence on the topic, is too late for "immediately").

Its a mild hook, a wizard breaking into a warehouse. To make it stronger, a hint about why he is there would help, even if the explanation comes later.

Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
Your descriptions seem contrived. Also, did he come through a window as in a jump through some glass or did he open the window and climb through? I ask because if real hell hounds are nipping at his heels he either wouldn't have the time to open a window or the hell hounds would jump in right behind him.

I also agree with everything Brendan said.

Posted by tchernabyelo (Member # 2651) on :
I didn't get what you meant by the first sentence ("On my side") until you get to the second paragraph.

Starting a sentence with And or But are individually OK from time to time, but both in a row is too much IMO.

And I assume you meant "boasts" not "boosts".

The semi-colon in the final paragraph seems misused as it stands. You can have it if you put a comma after "a wizard". That sentence comes over as clumsy exposition to me.

Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :

Thanks to all three of you.

Combining responses here but some of that is implied. He is in there because the hell hounds were after him. He didn't worry about the window because the place is protected with strong guardians... they can't come in.

The first sentence can be changed but would a comma after side help?

The semi-colon is probably misused but I can add a comma as suggested.

The description of the staff is... hmmm, some readers do seem to care for little details like that.

Brendan, I'm not sure what other information you want there. I could change it to "I just leapt through a window" or better yet "I just dived through a window". But so far the idea is that he is there to escape the hell hounds. Why they are chasing him comes later. Hopefully not too much later.

I can try to do away with the And and/or the But.

Posted by pidream (Member # 9544) on :
Well here goes.This is the first time I have made a comment here.

Ater reading it through the first time what stood out to me was you were telling me about everything and doing little showing.

The second read through and I felt some of your prose was a bit vague, like you know exactly what is happening in your world and take it for granted the reader does too.

I agree pretty much with what the others said too. I am bit jeelous of your output even if it is a bit rough.

Posted by Brendan (Member # 6044) on :
Yeah, landing on his side, having just come through the window is exactly the type of information I look for in the first sentence. That way the third sentence doesn't seem like a backtrack, and I get the sense of what he is doing straight away, as well as a promise of action. I'm fine with holding the reason for the chase till later. I actually quite liked the information that you had in the first 13, just those two sentences were an issue to me.

I didn't realise that the guardians were protecting the place from the hellhounds - I thought they were guarding against the MC, and the hellhounds were simply an added bonus problem. To make that point you suggest above, introducing the hellhounds before the guardians may work better.

Good luck with this one.

Posted by InarticulateBabbler (Member # 4849) on :
Didn't read any other versions, nor any comments.

I was confused at the opening:

1) "On my side..." of what? The door? Wait, did you mean on his ribs?

2) What warehouse? Boosts? is there somekind of magic strengthening guards? If so, not clear.

3) How did the character com in through a window? Skylight? Most Warehouses I've seen do not have side windows, those that do are high up and only wind open so far.

4) Hellhounds. Cool. Coll place to start might have been with him narrowly escaping them.

5) Did he jump through the window--like shattering glass and landing on his stomach (belly-flopping on a cement floor)? If not, where is he (is it a he?) "roll[ing] to his stomach and pushing himself up" from?

6) What do you mean by "full length leather jacket"? I have one that stops at my waist (it's full length), I've seen leather suit jackets (like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny), and I had a leather trenchcoat when I was younger. To which were you referring? Also, I have a leather cordobés. I've seen leather fedoras, leather mowbrays, leather cowboy hats, leather, leather akubra,leather flat cap (and ascot cap), leather porkpie hat, leather newsboy hats, leather aviator cap, leather earflap cap, leather cadet, leather Greek fisherman's caps...etc.

7) Does the staff have a life of its own, or did he raise it with magic or the force?

8) I do like the staff length giving a believable reason for the character revealing his height, but, it changes the dynamics of what I had to picture: Someone diving through a window/ hopping up into a window, carrying a six foot staff?

Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited July 10, 2011).]

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