This is topic Crawling Her Way Home in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=11;t=004437

Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
I meant to post this over a week ago but got sidetracked.

It's a story I want to enter in a contest so even though it's already been critted by a few hatrackers I want to make sure it's as clean of nitpicks as I can make it. And as usual I will be making a couple of changes.

So if anyone would like to look over the whole thing I would appreciate it.

The whole thing is 5,300 words long.

--Pain! It surged through her nerves even before she became fully conscious. Awake, she gasped before a scream forced its way out of her. Startled by her own voice she grimaced. No memory surfaced, no feelings formed to tell her of her location.
Who am I? Oh least I know I’m alive but where and what?
Her head fell back down, for those thoughts exhausted her.
Wanting to spit when she tasted blood, she refrained, for somehow she knew that would be a bad idea.
As she lay there panting the all encompassing pain settled into a dull ache. She swallowed another scream as the movement of her arms and legs caused sharp pains to cascade through her nerves.--
Posted by Denevius (Member # 9682) on :
seems strange that she would wonder, "Who am I?", when the more immediate question would seem to be, "Where am I?" i'll take a look at the whole piece.
Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
Unless the contest you're writing to wants you to use the cliched opening, I'd suggest changing this quickly. The waking-up-in-distress-not-knowing-anything intro is rarely a good sign.

Moving beyond the big obvious elephant, there are bigger issues, in my opinion. We have no sense of place. Nameless, faceless chick is in pain. That is it. We don't know where she is, is she in a wrecked car? on a surgical table? the flea infested mattress in my basement where I keep all my other unwilling guests?

The last sentence also seemed odd to me. It seems so passive, as if she is not responsible for moving her arms and legs.

If you send it, I will crit.
Posted by Nick T (Member # 8052) on :

I'll agree with Babooher here. The main problem is the lack of context and character. Something terrible is happening to someone, but there's no grounding reality to make me care or make me intrigued.

Send me an email and give me a bit of detail about the contest so that I can figure out whether I'm the right person to help you with this story.


Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Okay, Thanks all.

I will be sending it in a day or so. As to her waking up and all that. It can still be done which doesn't mean I can do it but I probably get the same rejection or go on and read it , no matter what opening I used.

As to where she is. The story is from her POV and she doesn't know.
Posted by Lloyd Tackitt (Member # 9714) on :
I had much the same problem as babooher and Nick
T. No sense of what the conflict was - other than an amnesia story.
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Thanks for reading it Lloyd.

I will be getting it out to Nick and Babooher tomorrow night. I had to send out a couple of other stories first so now it's this story's turn.
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Boy, am I late with this. I apologize for not sending it. It seems like every so often something keeps getting forgotten and this time this story is it. I can do all kinds of things online and not think about it one time. I can remember to send other stories and even to fix stories but this one is frustrating me.
Posted by Merlion-Emrys (Member # 7912) on :
I like the concept of the opening...I have no problem with the "waking up" part, since I feel like you have, or at least have the potential for having had done an interesting take on it. I find the idea of someone simply coming to consciousness confused and in pain in this way inherently intriguing however I do agree that what you need is setting. Personally, I'd recommend trimming a few of the somewhat redundant pain references and try to work in some surround-imagery.
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
The setting is a little complex but one of the reasons I might be forgetting is that I'm not totally satisfied with the opening. I may try to redo it a bit and see about including something of the setting.
Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
did you send it out yet, LDWriter2?
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
No, if you mean to the contest. Yes, if you mean to other markets.

As I said it's been critted already but still not sure about that opening.
Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
I just wanted to know if you'd sent it to Nick and I. I've been looking for it and I don't want to miss it.

Also, since you're looking specifically at the opening, you could try starting in a 3rd person omni to help get the setting before narrowing in on a 3rd person limited. Kinda like going from a wide pan and then zooming in on the main character.

Something to play with, I guess.
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Tomorrow night.

I may give that opening one more look over. It's her pain that I want to express better. Because at the first there is nothing but pain, even later there is no idea of who she is, where she is, what is going on. She has one goal that somehow got stuck in her mind.

Sometimes I think first person would be better.

Something like "My scream woke me, but I couldn't tell anything beyond the pain" Kinda Cliche-ish though.
Posted by micmcd (Member # 7977) on :
There were a couple of problematic sentences to me:

Awake, she gasped before a scream forced its way out of her.

Startled by her own voice she grimaced.


Wanting to spit when she tasted blood, she refrained, for somehow she knew that would be a bad idea.

All three of those follow the "(Active state of mind), she (performs an action)" pattern, one that rarely works well, and definitely doesn't work well thrice in the first thirteen lines.

[ February 03, 2012, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: micmcd ]

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