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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » My First Story: REVISION PART DEUX

   
Author Topic: My First Story: REVISION PART DEUX
Wenderella
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Alright, so this my second attempt at revising this. Here it goes:


Leah lay deep in thought inside her tiny bedroom. She ran her fingers over the gentle carvings in the medallion she wore. As she repeated the Elvish words to herself, she could see her lover's face in her mind again, remembering the last time she saw him. She was lost in his ocean eyes, and longed to swim in them again. She uttered his named "Meridel" when she was interrupted by a commotion outside.

Through her open window, she could hear a rumbling growl that shook her to the core. She heard a woman's shrill scream and jumped from her bed, rushing to the window. As she peered through the mangled branches of a willow tree, she saw a large bulging arm as it raised an axe into the air and swung it down across her neighbors neck. The head slid off the blade and bounced across the road. The woman cowering behind the neighbor hysterically screamed and pleaded for her life. "Dear Lord, save me, save me Lord, please!"The beast threw the man's body out of the way, and with his humongous hand, picked up the woman like a rag doll. Leah clutched the window sill, digging her fingernails into the wood. She strained to see who the woman was. As the beast swung the woman over his shoulder, the moonlight streamed across her face. It revealed the woman to be Leah's own mother. Leah stomach turned, she let out a scream and ran for the door.

[This message has been edited by Wenderella (edited April 01, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Wenderella (edited April 01, 2005).]


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MCameron
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I'm impressed. You've made huge strides in this story. Even though I had read the previous two attempts and knew what was happening, I still felt the tension of the monster attack. Good job. I only have a few minor nitpicks.

quote:
She uttered his named "Meridel" when she was interrupted by a commotion outside.

As it is written, in sounds like Leah says the name in response to the the commotion outside. I don't think that's what you intended. Perhaps something along the lines of "As she uttered his name, 'Meridel,' she was interrupted by a commotion outside." On the other hand, if you meant it to be the way I took it, then you should probably make it stronger so that it is obvious it isn't a mistake: "She uttered his name, 'Meridel,' as an invocation against evil, as she heard the commotion outside." Or something to that effect.

Good description in the second paragraph. I have a very clear image in my head, but you don't overwhelm the story with extraneous adjectives. The only one I have a problem with is "humongous." Now feel free to ignore this, because my experience could be unusual, but I just remember that word as being very popular with elementary school boys when I was a kid. They loved the word and used it constantly. So for me, it was kind of jarring to see a childish (to me) word used in a serious context.

Those were the two things that jumped out at me when I read it. Overall, much better. I would continue reading.

--Mel


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wbriggs
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It's almost like it's not the same story, despite the fact that it is. This is wonderful!

Nit-picks:

Through her open window, she could hear a rumbling growl that shook her to the core. She heard a woman's shrill scream and jumped from her bed, rushing to the window. As she peered through the mangled branches of a willow tree, she saw a large bulging arm as it raised an axe into the air and swung it down across her neighbor*'*s neck. The head slid off the blade and bounced across the road.
[PARAGRAPH]
The woman cowering behind the neighbor hysterically screamed and pleaded for her life. "Dear Lord, save me, save me Lord, please!"
[PARAGRAPH]
The beast threw the man's body out of the way, and with his [humongous] HUGE hand, picked up the woman like a rag doll. [I THINK THIS MEANS, THE WAY SOMEONE MIGHT PICK UP A RAG DOLL -- BUT I'M NOT SURE HOW THAT IS] Leah clutched the window sill, digging her fingernails into the wood. She strained to see who the woman was. As the beast swung the woman over his shoulder, the moonlight streamed across her face.
[PARAGRAPH, FOR EMPHASIS:]
It revealed the woman to be Leah's own mother.
[PARAGRAPH]
Leah stomach turned, she let out a scream and ran for the door. [THAT LAST IS A COMMA SPLICE -- SEE A RECENT THREAD ON THIS.]

I'd keep reading!


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DatBum65
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I think that this version is much improved, but I see a few things that I'd like to comment on.
Leah lay deep in thought inside her tiny bedroom. She ran her fingers over the gentle carvings in the medallion she wore. As she repeated the Elvish words to herself, [WHAT ELVISH WORDS? THE ONE'S CARVED INTO THE MEDALLION?] she could see her lover's face in her mind again, remembering the last time she saw him. [She was lost in his ocean eyes, and longed to swim in them again. THIS METAPHOR IS CLICHÉ, AND IT MADE ME SQUIRM A LITTLE.] She uttered his named "Meridel" when she was interrupted by a commotion outside. [THERE'S A SEQUENCE CONFLICT HERE. IT SOUNDS AS IF SHE WAS INTERRUPTED THEN UTTERED MERIDEL. I THINK YOU CAN SOLVE THIS BY CHANGING UTTERED TO WAS UTTERING.]
Through her open window, she could hear a rumbling growl that shook her to the core. She heard a woman's shrill scream and jumped from her bed, rushing to the window. As she peered through the mangled [GNARLED. MANGLED IS THE WRONG WORD UNLESS YOU INTENED TO MEAN THAT THE BRANCHES WERE HACKED OR CUT. GNARLED IS USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH TREES.] branches of a willow tree, she saw a large bulging arm as it raised an axe into the air and swung it down across her neighbors [POSSESSIVE NEEDED IN NEIGHBOR'S] neck. [The head slid off the blade and bounced across the road. THERE IS A MAJOR PROBLEM HERE. BUT IT TOO IS EALISY SOLVED, BUT WILL TAKE SEVERAL ATTEMPTS. HEADS DON'T BOUNCE ACROSS ROADS. IT IS NEVER GOOD TO HAVE YOUR READERS LAUGH WHEN YOU DIDN'T MEAN FOR THEM TO LAUGH, AND THAT WAS THE EFFECT THIS SENTENCE HAD ON ME. I LAUGHED. I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY.] The woman cowering behind the neighbor hysterically screamed and pleaded for her life. "Dear Lord, save me, save me Lord, please!" The beast threw the man's body out of the way, [WHY? WAS THE BEAST HOLDING THE MAN WITH ONE HAND WHILE DECAPITATING HIM WITH THE OTHER? OR DID THE BEAST BEND DOWN AND PICK UP THE HEADLESS MAN?] and with his humongous hand, picked up the woman like a rag doll. [NEW PARA HERE.] Leah clutched the window sill, digging her fingernails into the wood. She strained to see who the woman was. As the beast swung the woman over his shoulder, the moonlight streamed across her face. It revealed the woman to be Leah's own mother. Leah stomach turned, she let out a scream and ran for the door.

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Jaina
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Wow! You're making giant leaps with this one. Keep up at this, and you'll have a top-notch story in no time.

I'd nit-pick, but all my nit-picks have already been mentioned. I just wanted to tell you how much better this is. Well done!


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Rocklover
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Much better! Still, I'd like a bit more idea of what the beast looks like. How about giving it a name? I don't mean a proper name, just a common name like a zordak or something.
You lose a little momentum the way you say "it revealed the woman to be..." Keep it in POV. Something like, she watched in horror as she recognized her own mother's limp body flung to the ground....
But really, this rewrite is coming along very well. Judith

[This message has been edited by Rocklover (edited April 01, 2005).]


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Kolona
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If you keep this us, you'll be published next week.

I'll add just one nit-pik: rather than 'she could hear' try 'she heard.' It's stronger.


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Wenderella
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Thank you all for your comments!

I am thoroughly enjoying this whole process and getting feedback from a range of readers. I see what you mean about the word humongous, and I think I'm unclear about the carvings being the elvish words she is uttering. I am off to work on it further.

Thanks Again!
Wenderella


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HSO
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Sorry, off-topic here...

I know some of you guys like the ALL CAPS thing when critiquing fragments. But it's really hard to read. I don't want to take away from your style of critiquing, but please consider using a bold tag and lowercase letters within your brackets. Or not... do what you want.


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Phanto
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Please bear in mind that my comments are opinion.

quote:
Leah lay deep in thought inside her tiny bedroom.

This sentence strikes me as a non efficent way to start a story simply because it contains little inner energy. It is a passive line and that is not the front you wish to present your reader.

quote:
She ran her fingers over the gentle carvings in the medallion she wore.

The sentence structure here is: [NOUN] [VERB] [SUPPLEMENTARY NOUN THINGY (probably the complement, but my grammar is shakier than it should be)] [PREPOSITONAL PHRASE] [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN]. Since the first sentence is very similar, starting with the noun, verb, and then the "tiny bedroom" which is quite similar to "gentle carvings," the paragraph, and hence your story, has started on a slow, dragged beat.

quote:
As she repeated the Elvish words to herself, she could see her lover's face in her mind again, remembering the last time she saw him.

Forgive me, but "Elvish words" seems to be a terrible cliche in this era of modern fantasy. Yes, Tolkien is great and all that, but variety is too.

quote:
She was lost in his ocean eyes, and longed to swim in them again.

This seems mildly melodramtic. And losing in your eyes, especially in this sense, smells of cliche.

quote:
She uttered his named "Meridel" when she was interrupted by a commotion outside.

There should be a comma after "Meridel." This sentence and the last one are very similar in sound and format. They run together and seem repetitive.

quote:
Through her open window, she could hear a rumbling growl that shook her to the core.

This is another cliche, "shook her to the core," and not only that, a marked tendency has revealed itself, in that you very rarely drop a noun without also dropping an adjective.

quote:
She heard a woman's shrill scream and jumped from her bed, rushing to the window.

On a purely theoretically note, "her" is an unreferenced pronoun. While this is eliminated through context, it can confound some people. The phrase "shrill scream" seems cliche as well.

quote:
As she peered through the mangled branches of a willow tree, she saw a large bulging arm as it raised an axe into the air and swung it down across her neighbors neck.

The paragraphs are now starting to repeat each other: "as she peered," "as she repeated." This sentence suffers from an overload of adjectives and, as such, melodrama.

quote:
The head slid off the blade and bounced across the road. The woman cowering behind the neighbor hysterically screamed and pleaded for her life. "Dear Lord, save me, save me Lord, please!"The beast threw the man's body out of the way, and with his humongous hand, picked up the woman like a rag doll. Leah clutched the window sill, digging her fingernails into the wood. She strained to see who the woman was. As the beast swung the woman over his shoulder, the moonlight streamed across her face. It revealed the woman to be Leah's own mother. Leah stomach turned, she let out a scream and ran for the door.

This all feels melodramatic.


--------------------------

The main issue as I see it is as follows: You do not let the story develop through itself, but rather focus on binding it into adjectives. This will not work.

What I would suggest is going at a slower pace. Find indirect ways to say things. Simple saying something is terrible, will not make it terrible. Simple saying something is evil will not make it terrible.

And simply telling someone to feel an emotion will not work either.

[This message has been edited by Phanto (edited April 03, 2005).]


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benskia
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Hi.

Good. Just a little nit-pick from me:

"Leah lay deep in thought inside her tiny bedroom. "

I think that the first two words starting with L sounded a bit weird.

Also a bit of repition of the word 'in' - deep in thought inside.

This is dead fussy though, but it just sounds a bit weird to me.

Maybe change the beginning to something like:

Deep in thought, Leigh ran her fingers over the gentle carvings in the medallion she wore. She lay on her bed and repeated the Elvish words to herself.....


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