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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The True Cloak 9845 word -short -sci fi ist draft

   
Author Topic: The True Cloak 9845 word -short -sci fi ist draft
honu
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Basa el Amein stood near the side of his sleeping sand crab and scratched the carapace beneath her eye stalks. He carefully checked for the parasitic sand squibs near the stalk's base and breathed in the fragrances of the night air. He smelled the fragrance of wasal plant, scow shrub, and dodger dung on the cold desert air and listened to the movement of the sand dodgers in the depression below him, as they browsed. His dark eyes glistened beneath a shock of black hair as he watched the Seven Pilgrims tracing their nightly journey across the heavens.
He heard a snuffling alarm from one of the sand dodgers below, causing the others to give alarm cries of their own. He took up his spear and peered out into the darkness. He was
.....Here's a revision ...
quote:
Basa el Amein stood near the side of his sleeping sand crab and scratched the carapace beneath her eye stalks. He carefully checked for the parasitic sand squibs near the stalk's base while reserving his other senses for his shepherding duty. He smelled the fragrance of wasal plant, scow shrub, and dodger dung on the cold desert air and listened to the movement of the grazing sand dodgers in the depression below him. He looked skyward, his dark eyes glistening beneath a shock of black hair as he watched the Seven Pilgrims tracing their nightly journey across the heavens. He heard a bleating alarm from one of the sand dodgers below, causing the others to run in panic.

quote:
Basa el Amein stood beside his sleeping sand crab as he tended the clan's flock of sand dodgers. The breeze carried the astringent scent of wasal brush, scow shrub blossoms, and the ever present pungent tang of dodger dung on the cold desert air.
For a few minutes he watched the seven pilgrims constellation, as it traced it's nightly journey across the heavens.
Below, a bleating alarm from one of the sand dodgers made his pulse jump. There was a clatter of hooves as his flock scattered. He took up his spear as a large shape appeared out of the darkness.


quote:
Basa el Amein stood beside his sleeping sand crab and scratched her comfort spot at the base of her eyestalks. The flock of sand dodgers below him called back and forth as they moved through their grazing area. The breeze carried the astringent scent of wasal brush, scow shrub blossoms, and the tang of dodger dung on the cold desert air.
For a few minutes he watched the seven pilgrims constellation, as it traced it's nightly journey across the heavens.
Below, a bleating alarm from one of the sand dodgers made his pulse jump.

I missed the eye stalks too blue phoenix



[This message has been edited by honu (edited November 06, 2008).]


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monstewer
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Nice start. I probably would read on as it's an interesting setting you've created here.

Just a few minor quibbles:

listened to the movement of the sand dodgers in the depression below him, as they browsed. I'd cut "as they browsed", I don't think it adds anything important and the sentence reads better without it.

His dark eyes glistened beneath a shock of black hair as he watched the Seven Pilgrims tracing their nightly journey across the heavens. I got a major POV jolt here. I'd presumed that we were in Basa's POV up to this point, and then this sentence jolted me right out of the story.

He heard a snuffling alarm from one of the sand dodgers below, causing the others to give alarm cries of their own. Could just be me, but I don't associate "snuffling" with alarm. Also, "give alarm cries" is a little weak, we're dealing with something the reader is unfamiliar with and so you need to give them something they can picture more clearly there.

Good luck with it!



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Broda
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"breathed in the fragrances of the night air. He smelled the fragrance of wasal plant, scow shrub, and dodger dung on the cold desert air"

Repetitive. Maybe combine these fragments into a single sentence.
You may want to combine the first two sentences as well - "Basa el Amein stood near the side of his sleeping sand crab, scratching the carapace beneath her eye stalks and checking for the parasitic sand squibs that nest there." I don't know. I think you can get a lot more action/hook into the first 13 with less description - you can always add that stuff later (do I need to know sand crabs get parasites to understand the action about to take place?)

At this point, I'm not hooked.


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honu
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Thank you, monstewer and Broda....I revised it
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Devnal
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Quote:
"He looked skyward, his dark eyes glistening beneath a shock of black hair as he watched the Seven Pilgrims tracing their nightly journey across the heavens."

This is taking us out of POV. I'd rework,or, reword, to stay in the same vein as the rest.

Example:
"He looked skyward, brushing a shock of black hair away from his eyes, and watched the Seven Pilgrims, tracing their nightly journey across the heavens."


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skadder
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Basa el Amein stood near the side (beside) of his sleeping sand crab and

This next bit seems a little oddly phrased. Why is he scratching the base of her eye stalks and then the next minute checking them--it would seem more logical the other way round.

scratched the carapace beneath her eye stalks. He carefully checked for the parasitic sand squibs near the stalk's base while reserving (clunky and telling and redundant. The next sentence tell us his sense are elsewhere.)

his other senses for his shepherding duty. He smelled (why not just say something like '...the breeze carried the sweet scent of the wsal plant mixed with scow scrub flowers and the earthy flavour of dodger..' Since it is his POV you don't really need to mention he smelled it. It's a waste of words.) the fragrance of wasal plant, scow shrub, and dodger dung on the cold desert air and listened to the movement of the grazing sand dodgers in the depression below him. He looked skyward

Again, you just need to say 'For a few minutes he watched the seven pilgrims constellation as it..." The whole 'he looked skyward' and 'he watched' repeats the act of looking. , his dark eyes glistening

This is your biggest error. As Monstewer said this is a POV violation. The sheperd can't see his own eyes, so you have stepped out of his POV to look at him--mustn't do that.

beneath a shock of black hair as he watched the Seven Pilgrims tracing their nightly journey across the heavens. He heard a

You don't need 'he heard'. [i]Below, a bleating alarm from one of the sand dodgers below made his pulse jump. There was a clatter of hooves as the others began to stampede.

bleating alarm from one of the sand dodgers below, causing the others to run in panic.

I have just given examples--write as it suits you. Obviously, 'he heard--saw--looked' are used but you have used them too much in too short a space. When you are immersed in a POV you understand that you are seeing, feeling, hearing from the POV character's point of view. e.g.

Capt. Morgan stood on the deck as waves washed around him. The sky was black with storm clouds and the wind bit as ice crystals it carried scoured his face.


All of the above is experience-able from Morgan's POV. I haven't said that he 'felt the ice crystals scouring his face' or that he 'saw the storm clouds'.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited November 05, 2008).]


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Kee Stone
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I think that the lines where a little too detailed for getting my attention.

I think if you were look at it again, you would find that the lines are a little unrealistic.

I think that you could make the character himself more real: you have to either make us love the character or hate him. Don't write anything that you yourself would not read again (exceptions do apply). If you want me to explain more, just say so.


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honu
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thank you for your comments Devnal, skadder, and Kee stone....I think whats helping me the most on your crits is the comment skadder made about immersion into the pov...and writing as the senses are understood as being used

[This message has been edited by honu (edited November 06, 2008).]


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bluephoenix
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You've had some good advice so far. All I'll say is that every sentence starts with 'He' (except for the first one). Every sentence is long, every sentence has lots of info in it. What you essentially have is this:

Basa el Amein stood by this and scratched it. He checked for things. He smelled things and listened to things. He looked and watched. He heard a bleating.

He did, and did, and this, and did, and he did.

Vary your sentence structure is my advice - it'll make this a lot more interesting to read. Currently, your world is hidden in repetitive prose.

Hope this helps,
Daniel.

[This message has been edited by bluephoenix (edited November 06, 2008).]


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honu
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thanks blue phoenix...I am still sorting out 1) showing versus telling 2)narrative vs 1st and 3rd person pov 3) how to make an interesting hook while adding enough background in the first 13 to help catch the readers eye...etc...etc....when I plug all these elements into the story line...it looks foreign to me.....which is probably a good thing given my experience level atm..... As an aside, at first I was a bit overwhelmed by all the good advice from all of you....then I slept on it.....came back, and could see....the points each of you were making....and found myself coming into agreement with them....*arrrr and ahaaaaa says the squinty-eyed pirate
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skadder
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Much better. Although, at a glance, it look like you could have got more in. You're allowed 13 lines.
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Nick T
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Hi,

I'd largely agree with what everyone has said so far (I particularly noticed the repetition of structure). Having said that, don't throw out what's good about this start. You've used smell and touch very well and there's a nice air of exoticism about the world. My main advice is to simply cut down on some of the clutter (as identified by Hatrackers far more qualified than myself) and let the good stuff shine.

*Edit* Whoops, missed out on your revision. It's a good one.

Nick

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited November 06, 2008).]


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bluephoenix
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Much, much better. I miss the scratching under the eyestalks, though - gives me a nice image of the creature.

But yes. Definite improvement, I'd read on without hesitation this time .

Daniel.


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Broda
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I like the newest revision.
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honu
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Thanks everyone ....you are great!!
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