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Author Topic: Well, it's a start... Feedback please...
beatybl
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It was a day like any other day. Oh, not a cold winter day full of dread upon pushing back the covers. No, it was a nice warm spring day full of the chirping of birds in the trees. In fact those very birds chirped so loudly as to drown out even a simple thought. This happened to be only one of the reasons that old Catchum twitched his long black tail, rather than stretching out first his left paw and then his right paw, as would normally be the case. For, despite the racket from those incessant birds, he may have been able to curl back up into a little ball and sleep for sometime further if it hadnít been for the dratted suns rays that had made their way through the only crack in the vertical blinds. Then again, if he hadnít made that crack in the vertical blinds during one of his fits....

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Update: Thanks for all the feedback. I have decided to go back to the writing tablet and start over.


[This message has been edited by beatybl (edited April 24, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by beatybl (edited April 24, 2007).]


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tnwilz
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It was a day like any other day. (This is tantamount to opening your story with ĎOnce upon a time.í Itís a very used opening line) Oh, not a cold winter day full of dread upon pushing back the covers. No, it was a nice warm spring day full of the chirping of birds in the trees. In fact those very birds chirped so loudly as to drown out even a simple thought. This happened to be only one of the reasons that old Catchum twitched his long black tail, rather than stretching out first his left paw and then his right paw, as would normally be the case. For, despite the racket from those incessant birds, he may have been able to curl back up into a little ball and sleep for sometime further if it hadnít been for the dratted suns rays that had made their way through the only crack in the vertical blinds. (pretty long sentence, maybe break it in two) Then again, if he hadnít made that crack in the vertical blinds during one of his fits....

Thoughts.
Your MC appears to be a cat, at least at this point, since we are told what heís doing and even his motives. If thatís the case the reference to ďdread upon pushing back the coversĒ seems out of place, as cats donít push back covers in the morning. Second I can tell you from experience with cats that they love,love love, sun beams coming through the blinds.

This is certainly cute I would read on. If for no other reason just because its written from a cat POV.

BTW Cats also love to sit on your lap or keyboard and chase the mouse cursor as you attempt to work.


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beatybl
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[This message has been edited by beatybl (edited April 24, 2007).]


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KayTi
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LOL at tnwilz's points about cats. How true! I had one who used to sit on top of the old monitor (back when they were large boxes and displayed only green text on black backgrounds...ah, remember the days?) and warm herself, while occasionally fishing one long white paw down the front of the monitor to grab at the text streaming this way and that. I still miss that cat! Sniff, it'll be 6 years this June since she went to that great catnip palace in the sky.

But I digress. I liked this because I like cats, however I'm slightly suspicious that the MC is some sort of werecat, though, because of the sunlight aversion. That wouldn't please me as much.

Specific feedback points -
I would prefer to break up the thoughts with at least one other paragraph. Not sure where the best natural break is, but it felt like a long paragraph.

Chirping of birds in trees seemed redundant. It's not exactly redundant, but I guess unless the trees are particularly relevant, or ONE tree is (in which case name the one - "full of the chirping of birds in the giant oak that shades the bedroom window...") it doesn't seem to add much. I suggest "In fact, those birds chirped so loud that they drowned out everything." Seems like if they drowned out simple thoughts, then how the heck are we hearing a retelling of their story? The birds would have drowned out the thoughts that went into creating the story...I'm being really nit-picky, granted!

Not sure why old Catchum would stretch out first his left then right. Is this meaningful? Like, is it a code or something? It is a reasonable characterization of cat behavior, but since much of cat behavior seems random, I guess I don't see lack of this stretching it as distinct evidence of him being bothered - twitching the tail is plenty of evidence of that. The "For, despite the racket..." sentence seems to have a variety of tenses. Despite, may have been, curl, sleep, hadn't been, had made. Maybe not - but it is a long thought, can you cut into two sentences instead of this one long one? Maybe it's that there's too many ifs & the despite, puts all the verbs on guard, and then makes the sentence a little challenging to read. The next sentence does the if in a little more obvious/sensible way. Forgive me, I'm not the grammar expert, but the next sentence "then again, if he hadn't made that crack..." seems more straightforward, most likely because its shorter.

At any rate - while I would read more because I like cats, I suspect you'll get feedback that this lacks a strong hook. So far I've mostly just got a sense of a cat who is put out by bird noise (hmm...that doesn't seem right, most cats are intrigued/put into a state of alertness by bird noise) and who made a crack in the blinds during a "fit" - whatever that is. Presumably you're going to tell me next, don't keep me hanging if it's important. Don't call it a "fit" if you're just talking about a cat wreaking normal havoc on a home.

I'm curious what genre - is this a future tale? Fantasy? plain 'ol fiction? That influences my interest in reading more - I'm more of a sci-fi person than anything else.


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Amy Treadwell
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If this is cat POV, would he think about pushing back covers? Would he think of birds chirping as a nice day (cheery) or a nice snack?

Also, my cat breaks the horizontal blinds, but not the vertical ones. They just swing out of the way.

[This message has been edited by Amy Treadwell (edited April 23, 2007).]


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beatybl
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re: It was a day like any other day. (This is tantamount to opening your story with ĎOnce upon a time.í Itís a very used opening line)

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Is using a "very used" opening line a bad thing? If it was to be reworded a bit (At first glance today would closely resemble a day much like the day before) would it make a difference? Or, should I begin again with an original opening line?

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You're feedback is greatly appreciated.


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Wolfe_boy
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quote:
It was a day like any other day. (This is tantamount to opening your story with ĎOnce upon a time.í Itís a very used opening line)

I'll side with beatybl on this one, tnwilz. That's the sort of opening line my grandmother might use to tell me a fairy tale, and I think that the tone of the rest of the frag is in that same vein - a close, personal, casual retelling of an old story. On tone alone, you've got me for a few pages at least.

I'll second the perspective on cats, though. They tend to be on the blankets rather than under then (though this isn't a hard and fast rule), and they simply adore sunbeams (I believe this is a hard and fast rule).

Jayson


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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:

[It was a day like any other day. Oh, not a cold winter day full of dread upon pushing back the covers. No,<--unnecessary, IMHO. It really sarts here--> I]t was a nice warm spring day full of [the<--needed?] chirping [of<--needed?] birds [in the trees<--needed?]. In fact[,] those very birds chirped so loudly as to drown out even a simple thought.[Who's PoV?] This happened to be only one of the reasons that old Catchum[, the cat?] twitched his long black tail, rather than stretching out [first his left paw and then his right paw =each paw in turn?], as would normally be the case. For, despite the racket from those incessant birds[This is a bit redundant with the birds], he may have been able to curl back up into a little ball and [go back to sleep? = sleep for sometime further] if it hadnít been for the dratted suns rays that had made their way through [the only = a] crack in the [vertical<--necessary?] blinds. Then again, if he hadnít made that crack in the vertical blinds[<--redundant] during one of his fits....

Problems:

  • Why do I care about Catchum?
  • I have no clue where this is heading.
  • There is no conflict (plot-wise, not physical) introducing itself.
    If you haven't read it, I suggest you find a copy of Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams. It has a feline protagonist, but it starts out active. Though we all know cats spend a lot of their lives grooming themselves and napping, he only illustrated this when important or relevant.

    [This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited April 24, 2007).]


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  • wbriggs
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    "It was a day like any other day": ok to reuse something, but this one says, "Nothing to see here, folks, move along."

    "It was a day like any other day until Felix the cat saw the strangest thing..." is different.

    I think the writing's fine, but I want a hook.


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