A lost soul finds himself only to discover another has taken his place. Does it hook? Would you read on?
She was beautiful, the girl in his dreams, and she was naked with little transparent dragon fly wings sprouting from her shoulders. She lay across his chest caressing his face lightly, admiring the goodness she saw in him. Her warm gentle touch stirred a universal peacefulness deep within him. Bending forward with her face close to his, she whispered, “You’ve been away too long, Wanderer. It’s time to go home. Those that love you need you.” When he woke, rats were gnawing on the dried vomit caked to his chest and matted within his tangled beard.
I think the story starts with the provocative last sentence. I do have problems with this sentence however. He barfed himself and didn't wake up when it happened? Was he comatose? Why the rat? Where is this guy sleeping? The questions I had while reading this were distracting. I think we need more info surrounding this incident. However, the last sentence did arouse my interest - I just want to know more about what is going on here.
[This message has been edited by nitewriter (edited May 17, 2007).]
** Amateur disclaimer. Take with a bucket of salt! ** =)
It started slow and mellow. I found myself thinking it was slow and mellow.
The last sentence is shocking. I don't know if this was your intent, but I assume it was. It was not shocking of itself, but only because it came directly after the mellowness before.
I found myself wanting to read more, but not for the reason you would expect or hope for.
I found myself wanting to know what could come from such a slow and shocking beginning. I can imagine myself reading on, but the next 2 paragraphs or so would have to be EXCEPTIONAL for me to continue beyond that.
I think this opening has excellent potential, with possibly only a small amount of tightening up here or there needed. The hook for me is not the dragonfly girl, it is the name Wanderer for the character. So, I am interested to know who he is and where he wanders to, and for what reasons (and to understand his situation with the rats and vomit). I also don't mind that the story begins with a dream because that much is developed immediately and it doesn't linger. I do wish the dragonfly girl had a name of some sort, especially if she visits his dreams often, and if he knows it, but maybe she's mysteriously nameless...?
Some personal opinions on strengthening the opening:
First, do you mean "girl in his dream" (as in the present dream he is experiencing) or are you implying that she is in many of his dreams by using the plural? It's a small point to consider, probably not that big of a deal...
Second, "girl" or "woman"? I realize the two are interchangeable, but I cannot help my prejudice that "girl" more often implies a female who is not yet an adult, which may be your intent. Again it's minor, but only something to consider, especially since the girl is naked.
Third, and last, it may be beneficial to reorder the dragonfly girl's dialogue so that "It's time to go home" comes at the end. There is power in those words, or at least those words could trigger the Wanderer to awaken. If coupled with something physical--a kiss, a touch, a wink, a flutter of those dragonfly wings, something--it might be even more powerful, and could serve as a good transition from dreamworld to real world. "Those that love you need you" doesn't quite have the same power in my opinion.
quote:She was beautiful, the girl in his dreams, and she was naked with little transparent [dragon fly<--necessary?] wings sprouting from her shoulders. She lay across his chest caressing his face lightly, admiring the goodness she saw in him.[<--This is from the dream's point of view] Her warm gentle touch stirred a universal peacefulness deep within him. Bending forward with her face close to his, she whispered, “You’ve been away too long, Wanderer. It’s time to go home. Those that love you need you.” When he woke, rats were gnawing on the dried vomit caked to his chest and matted within his tangled beard.
I don't have a problem with the last sentence, other than it IS the last sentence.
My first problem is the "dream". It seems the faerie is real, considering that she has a PoV. I think that you should have the faerie hovering over his vomit-encrusted beard. That way you can introduce Wanderer as the bum he's become, as opposed to the hero he would become. You could place him in an alley, a couple of bottles scattered about his cardboard box.
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited May 17, 2007).]
An explanation for those who are wondering: He's a drug addict and a drunk who wakes up in a disgustingly filthy alley. His shoes and his pants have been stolen along with what little dignity remains. Revolted by what he has become, he makes a recovery then returns home again only to find someone else has taken his name and place.
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Maybe you need to start with him actually deciding that he has become someone he doesn't want to be, and that he has to change. That way, the hook would be that readers would want to see how he manages it.
To me, this should be from his point of view, which means he can't really see all of her if she's lying on his chest. Imagine you are cradling someone. What would you see? Also, if she's on his chest, caressing his face, why would she lean forward? I can't picture what that would even mean.
Also, the scene with bare-skin-on-skin contact is very sensual. Then you have the vomit. Ew. That skin was just against the fairy. I think even a dream fairy would recoil from cuddling in vomit. To me, this would work better if she wasn't lying in the exact spot where vomit lies.
Also, does she have a name? They seem so intimate, I'd like to know if they know one another.
I loved your opening. I got the impression that the Wanderer in the dream looks like his mental image of himself. Without the vomit, probably without the beard. Then when he wakes up, his reality contrasts sharply with the goodness that he sees in himself (that the fairy sees in him) in the dream.
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