This is topic Dreamwalkers: First Thirteen - Fantasy novel in forum Fragments and Feedback for Books at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by turtlewoman (Member # 10029) on :
Leo had been so long on Larreta he had nearly forgotten what it was like not to be alone. As he wandered around his apartment in Tyrid, he saw the same overwrought furniture that had filled his house in Boston. Not very imaginative to have replicated his old home here, but it was a common choice among new dreamwalkers, and that was what he had been when he had moved to the loft. In all this time, he had been truly connected to another person for only three months. His beautiful Bobby.

He sprawled on the brown suede couch and watched the sky turn pink through the open glass doors that led to the balcony. The sheer white curtains swayed in a sudden breeze, and he winced, remembering how Bobby had looked when she stood on that balcony with the curtains billowing around her. She had laughed as she

[ February 18, 2013, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]
Posted by Natej11 (Member # 8547) on :
Hey turtlewoman.

To start off with the writing is good, the spelling and grammar are perfect, and the detail sets the scene very well.

From a general perspective my main issue is that setting the scene has to coincide with drawing readers into the story. These days everyone and their dog is hammering it in that the first thirteen are the hook hook hook. Grab the readers by the back of the head and shove their nose into your story and hold it there until they stay on their own.

So far we have only one hint as to where the story is going, the vague reference to "dreamwalkers", and so far nothing has happened. We know a bit about the character and his history, but all of the names have no context, no teasers to draw our interest, so at the moment they're just unfamiliar.

It has a very introspective feel, meant to draw sympathy for the main character, but since we don't really know him and have formed no emotional attachments introspection doesn't do much as a hook to spark the reader's interest.

Anyway my 2c.

[ February 16, 2013, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: Natej11 ]
Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
This is a novel. I don't agree that you have to hook your reader that hard in the first thirteen lines. However, you do have to somehow pique their interest enough on the first page to get them to turn to page 2. There are a lot of ways to do this.

This beginning feels a little distant to me. It doesn't give me a reason to connect with the main character. Why does he think it's stupid that he made his new home exactly like the old one? More important, how does thinking about (presumably) his lost love make him feel. Get me inside the character's thoughts and feelings and I'll turn the page.
Posted by KellyTharp (Member # 9997) on :
" . . . what it was like to not be alone." I would expand on this a bit. Is he surrounded by millions of people, aliens, other dreamwalker's . . . their minds? Then you flip us to "...only been connected to one other person" So, was he first alone with with person and then thrown into a mass of hive minds, dreamwalkers. Perhaps a quick reference to what dreamwalkers do and why he moved into the loft in the first place. Nate is correct, give us more on your one enticing word . . dreamwalkers. Good start.
Posted by turtlewoman (Member # 10029) on :
Thank you for your comments. I am really struggling with how to get both character and conflict into 13 lines. Here is another attempt.

Leo opened his eyes. His bedroom was no longer dark. He glanced toward the row of tall windows to his left, but no hint of dawn softened the indigo night. The balcony door was open and for a moment he thought he saw Bobby standing there, the sheer white curtains billowing around her. But that had happened years ago. She had laughed, pushed them away, and come inside to nestle beside him. So long ago, and still he remembered her laugh perfectly.

Leo rolled onto his other side, and that was when the column of blue and silver lights suspended on the ceiling moved closer. He watched as they settled over the lower portion of his bed, hovering so close he felt the delicate eddies of warmth they emitted.

[ February 19, 2013, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Actually, you don't need to get "character and conflict" into the first 13 lines. If you can show the reader why to care about the character and just hint about the conflict, that's all you need to do. Well, that and let the reader see where the character is, of course.
Posted by turtlewoman (Member # 10029) on :
Thanks, Kathleen, that helps. I realize I've been obsessing and need to pull back into myself to figure out what's appropriate
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
The purpose of only posting the first 13 lines can be confusing.

We don't want you to feel you have to summarize the story at all. The idea is that you may have already written several pages or chapters (if not the whole thing), and we just want to look at the first page.

The hope is that we can tell you whether or not we would want to keep reading, and why or why not. And if we can offer suggestions on how to help us want to keep reading, we do.

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