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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » If a few forgiving souls could help....

   
Author Topic: If a few forgiving souls could help....
Jeraliey
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Hey, folks!

I have a new story that I'm submitting for a class next Tuesday, and I was wondering if a couple of kind people could manage to overlook the fact that I've been ridiculously unreliable in my critiquing offers this semester, and give it a look. I swear I'll regain my reliability when I graduate; for now, can you find it in your hearts to forgive me?

The story is science fiction, about 3400 words. (For people who have critiqued my work before: this is more like The Eddy than Ouroboros in its style...hopefully Ouroboros didn't scare you away forever! )

A Spray of Cyclamen and Posala

Lyta could no longer stand to walk past the manicured gardens of Meridian. Naive homemakers in rich estates, desperate for a taste of the home they would never see again, carelessly threw the arrangements together with no thought as to what they could mean. In their ignorance they cast jealousy into the same bed as faith, twined deception about the neck of comfort, and allowed cheer to languish in the shadow of oblivion. The cloying perfumes of the blossoms settled on the back of her tongue and made her throat close up. She clutched the handle of her briefcase as she ducked past the extravagance.

The flowers were everywhere, screaming and whispering their conflicting messages to the deaf passersby. They were impossible to ignore. Even the stately orchids in the front hall of Meridian’s Teletransit Authority would not stop murmuring about love and beauty.

“Stephanotis,” John had said, “would be so much more appropriate. A desire for travel. Although the peace and prosperity outside are quite fitting for Meridian.”

“What, the cattails?”

“What else? A remarkable feat, if you ask me. We could never get water to stand on Aankomend. The atmosphere wouldn’t support it.” His jaw had clenched, and Lyta had slipped an arm around his waist.

Thanks, everyone!


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HSO
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You have to ask? Send it on. Stop your worrying, Jer.

Note: I didn't read any of the fragment -- I just saw it was yours. So ptthbbb.


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MCameron
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I'll take a look at it.

--Mel


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onepktjoe
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Hi Jeraliey,

I'm still pretty new here, and I didn't have the pleasure of reading Ouroboros, so I'm not scared, just intrigued. And since I don't recall getting any ridiculously unreliable offers to critique, you can send it over with a clear conscience.

Joe


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Jeraliey
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HSO, you're blatantly inflating my ego to dangerous proportions. I'm horribly offended.

Ok, folks, they're on their way. Thanks!

Anyone else?


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Survivor
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I like it. You might have tried naming the flowers that stand for the various concepts in that third sentence, it would have kept it clear that you were talking about flower arrangements rather than going off on a weird tangent.

The last bit of John's dialogue is a bit problematic. When he says "get water to stand" it sounds a bit strange, even though there is only one thing you could plausibly mean. And you might say something more transparent than "The atmosphere wouldn't support it." Frankly, that lent itself to a continuation of the rather incredible image I was getting. Remember, when you reveal SF and Fantasy elements, you need to be extra careful of ludicrous alternate meanings.

Also, your last sentance is a bit off. You use the past perfect well to indicate that John's jaw had clenched while he was speaking of the unfavorable conditions on Aankomend, thus hinting that it was a bit more serious than just not being able to grow cat-tails. But the past-perfect applied to Lyta's response strains POV and makes it unclear that it is a response to his agitation.

Anyway, no fear on Ouroboros in Three. We like being experimental, even the 'splody bits. And if you're not scared, then I could try to critique this in time for your class.


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Jeraliey
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OOH! I was hoping you'd offer! It's on its way; have at it!
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NewsBys
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You probably have enough people, but I would like to read it anyway.

It interests me because I have a book on victorian flower messages. It's an interesting choice of topic.


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Kolona
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I'm intrigued by the flowers. If you want another reader...
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HSO
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quote:
HSO, you're blatantly inflating my ego to dangerous proportions. I'm horribly offended

Certainly not! I just wanted another to chance to tear down that ego... As you may recall, your last crit wasn't exactly ego-building, now was it?

Really, I just like knocking around the college kids... There's just something really rewarding about doing that--take 'em down a peg or two; show them what real life is like outside of school; that kind of stuff.

And, of course, I'm kidding.

I will, however, automatically read certain people's stories, and you're one of those people. Besides, you're a registered offendee -- it would be rude of me if I didn't read your story. Right?


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djvdakota
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I haven't even read your 13 lines, and I'd still ike to do a critique for you.

Send it, unless you think you have enough.


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Jeraliey
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You people rock my world, can I just tell you?

Yeah, HSO, but that one was completely deserved. You just try and deny it. And if this is anything like the real world, I'm going to have to hire someone (my little brother, maybe?) to take me down a couple of notches on a regular basis. You folks are entirely too kind to keep me humble!

The next round is out. I can never have enough readers! Thanks again for everyone's time.


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TaShaJaRo
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Jeraliey - it looks like you have plenty of readers but if you need/want another, feel free to send it over. I've got a slow week this week so I'll be able to get to it quickly.
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hoptoad
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quote:

“Stephanotis,” John had said, “would be so much more appropriate. A desire for travel. Although the peace and prosperity outside are quite fitting for Meridian.”

“What, the cattails?”

“What else? A remarkable feat, if you ask me. We could never get water to stand on Aankomend. The atmosphere wouldn’t support it.” His jaw had clenched, and Lyta had slipped an arm around his waist.



I have no idea what the above lines mean.
Are you saying that stephanotis is cattails or is the character saying that stephanotis is better than some otherwise previously unmentioned cattails?

What is going on? Either you're way cleverer than me and there is some esoteric message or the whole front end of the story (presented above) doesn't seem to really make much sense.


[This message has been edited to include a little embarrassed face]

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited March 31, 2005).]


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rickfisher
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I can't get it done in time for Tuesday. Do you do rewrites for this class? If so, I'd like to read it then. Or if you just want another opinion after you get it back but before you submit it, that would work for me too.
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Eadwacer
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I like it so far. (Interesting choices for name). Send it on over and I'll get it back to you ASAP.
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Jeraliey
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That's fine, Rick...you're a phenomenal critiquer, and I wouldn't miss your feedback for anything! Don't worry about the timing; I look forward to seeing what you think.

Ead: Never heard them before?

hoptoad: There's a huge difference between "I don't think you were clear in your opening" and "you're much cleverer than me". Somehow I find myself doubting that it's due to some kind of failing on your part. As a sidenote, the lines you quoted refer to the orchids in the previous paragraph (as in, stephanotis would be more appropriate for the entryway than the orchids that are there). It was kind of buried, and I guess it's easy to miss. How would you recommend that I make it clearer?


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Survivor
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It was clear enough, in an of itself. But notice exactly where hop lost track of things? It's right at the beginning of the unmarked flashback.
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Jeraliey
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Yeah, I did. Good call.
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hoptoad
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Flashback!
I did not see a flashback, it just felt like there was something I was missing and didn't understand it.

The reader senses a change in the story, but does not know what has changed so they do not trust their points of reference.

Maybe all it needs is the transition to flashback to be easier to see.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited March 31, 2005).]


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Rocklover
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Hey Jer. I am a gardener, heart and soul, and would love to read this EXCEPT you obviously have been overrun by readers so I'll pass. Just want you to know I was hooked. I hope you'll post the rewrite so I can have another look at it. I often feel this way about my own flowers. I know, gardeners take a lot of ribbing on talking to their plants and thinking of them as having personalities, whatever. But I admit upfront I do that. I believe it comes from caring for something alive. You work and slave to prepare the soil, and plant it, and feed it, and protect it, and before you know it, you're talking to the things and doing a funny kind of bonding no one can understand unless its happened to them. Anyway, I'll shut up now. Except to say, I really like the idea of what you've done.
Judith

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