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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » All Saints

   
Author Topic: All Saints
Wildstar
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Here is a new one, ADD, working on more than one at the same time. Waiting for one to step up and take the lead. I would like feedback, not ready for larger story to be read. May end up being longer than I thought.

Panicked, Catherine ran through the damp cobble stone streets. Her pale skin reflected the new moon’s brilliance as the fluid shadows swarmed, diving, tearing at her already tattered black gown. She ducked under the mixture of Bald Cypress and Magnolia trees that lined New Orleans’s Plaza D’Armas, making it tougher for her pursuers to get at her. The shadow’s shrieking chatter intensified as the Cathedral drew nearer. Catherine stopped at the foot of St. Louis steps. She hesitated, knowing that this could easily kill her and only possibly save her. The fluid shadows danced in the air, pinning Catherine between their perfect semicircle and the cathedral door. Weeping she placed her bloodied bare foot on the first step. Immediately it began to smoke, she cried out


[This message has been edited by Wildstar (edited April 01, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited April 01, 2008).]


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annepin
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The writing is a little thick. I feel like we spend a long time with description and details until we get to the hook, which for me was:

Weeping she placed her bloodied bare foot on the first step. Immediately it began to smoke, she cried out in pain.

I think everything that came before could be heavily weeded. You only need to say she's running (and that is kinda cliche) for the reader to grasp her urgency. Of more interest to me is not how and where she's running (except that she's going to a cathedral) but who she's running from and why, and how the heck she's going to prevent herself from burning up while in the holy place.


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Wordmerchant
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I agree with annepin here. It seems to be a study in adjectives rather than tight consice description. As a technical aside, the "new moon" has no brilliance, it is a darkened orb.
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Rheniel
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You managed to catch my interest, but it was in the very last line.

You're giving me too many names of things I don't care about; in the middle of running, who cares about what the trees are called? And who, especially, pauses to think of the name of their city? They might think about where they're going, while running, so this may be a good spot to name the cathedral (if it matters to the storyline which cathedral she enters), but the cathedral's name doesn't flow with likely thoughts as she's about to possibly kill herself fleeing into it (though, by this point, it may just be name over-saturation). If the other location details are really that important, for me they'd work better at the beginning, before the panicked running, so it doesn't feel like a hiccough.

Also, her dilemma about the cathedral should occur, if possible, before she's about to put her foot on the step; you don't leave us any time to be worried about her. Something as simple as "toward the uncertain safety of the cathedral" or even "of St Louis Cathedral" might work.


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PaulUK
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Hi Wildstar,

As has already been mentioned, I think there is a little too much description going on here, and I do have an aversion to stories that begin with the MC running away from unseen/unknown pursuers.

However, I do agree that a ruthless trimming of everything that comes before 'Catherine stopped at the foot of...' would help enormously, because your basic premise seems intriguing. I'd be happy with it starting as she mounts the steps, maybe something along the lines of:

'Catherine stood at the foot of the steps and looked up at the Cathedral. Behind her, the shadow's shrieking chatter intensified as it drew nearer.

_Please don't let this kill me,_ she thought. _Please let it save me._

Weeping she placed her bloodied bare foot on the first step. Immediately it began to smoke...'

Not great, but I hope you get what I mean!

Best wishes,

Paul


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wbriggs
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The POV here is 3rd person, very shallow penetration, almost cinematic. That's not necessarily bad, but in most cases (including this one), IMJ, it keeps us from getting hooked, because Catherine knows full well why she's running and we don't -- which is why she cares, and we can't.

I recommend trying this with deep penetration, and seeing how it goes. So we won't notice the reflections on her pale skin (which have to be the last thing on her mind!), but we'll notice instead why she's afraid, and what sort of creepy magic is after her.


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Wildstar
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Thank you all. I am sorry I have not responded before now but my job has taken me out of town and I am on a borrowed computer. I will be revise this once I am back home.

Very helpful, thank you.

DC


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