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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First 13 feedback, Potential WoTF entry

   
Author Topic: First 13 feedback, Potential WoTF entry
LAJD
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Hi All
I am getting close to sending in my WoTF entry and would like to get feedback on the first 13. I would be happy to send it to anyone who wants to read the rest, but I am looking for feedback on (1) hookiness and (2) WoTF fit. This will be my first run at WoTF.

Thanks
Leslie

The Mitchell Park faeries were out of control, and since Brian had left for college, they were my problem. Several small dogs had died, in not quite explainable ways, and one dog owner too many had been stung with a barbed pinecone. Yesterday, my mother had informed me that according to the Council, the humans of Palo Alto were getting suspicious. She commented that the Council had never been nervous when Brian was exterminating the fairies. And continued by noting that perhaps, if I was not up to the task, my little brother might step in to redeem the family name. Clearly, failure was not an option, and lets face it, I was really tired of the faeries pelting me with pinecones.
“Nasty little vermin,” I hissed. The nest I was working on was

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited December 08, 2008).]


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snapper
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Hey LAJD,

Congrats on your first attempt. Let's see what you got.

quote:
The Mitchell Park faeries were out of control, and since Brian had left for college, they were my problem.

This line is okay but it's not a reach out and grab you type first sentence.

quote:
Several small dogs had died, in not quite explainable ways,

Too telling. in not quite explainable ways is too wide opened. You'll need to give the reader a better idea on what that means this early in your story.

quote:
and one dog owner too many had been stung with a barbed pinecone.

'Stung' doesn't feel quite right. How about 'pegged' or something similiar?

quote:
Yesterday, my mother had informed me that according to the Council, the humans of Palo Alto were getting suspicious.

Nope, don't like this line at all. It is passive and I feel could be shortened.

quote:
>She commented that< (cut) the Council had never been nervous when Brian was exterminating the fairies.

Also passive.

quote:
And continued by noting that perhaps, if I was not up to the task, my little brother might step in to redeem the family name. Clearly, failure was not an option, and lets face it, I was really tired of the faeries pelting me with pinecones.

I am getting the feeling that a lot of this opening should be moved back. Your MC's reflection on what her mother told her is dulling any hook you got.

quote:
“Nasty little vermin,” I hissed. The nest I was working on was in the big stand of pines next to the dog run.

This I like a lot and think you should try and get it as close to the start as possible.

quote:
The faeries, masters of public park design and strategy, had set

I don't know what you wrote next but what you got going is how you start your piece. Faeries as pest, kind of like how monkeys are in Africa, is a unique idea, one I find hooky by itself. Open with the action you got started. Some thing like...


The pinecone bounced off the side of my head. I run my fingers through my hair to comb out the barbed sappy remnants.
“Nasty little vermin.”
The faeries, masters of public park design, had set up a crossfire network to catch any human walking their dog on the run cutting through the park. Brain used to be the one that kept them under control, but he left for college. Now they were my problem.
Yada, yada, yada...


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C L Lynn
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I must disagree with snapper's assessment of the first sentence. I loved it and giggled. I'll look at the rest.
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BoredCrow
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Come to think of it, I might like this as these as the very first sentences. Forgive my paraphrasing of your work:
'The Mitchell Park faeries were out of control. "Nasty little vermin," I hissed.'

From what I remember of your story, that gives a great intro of the situation and the character.


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Yufae
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I like the first sentence as it is. Maybe move the "'Nasty little vermin'..." part to just after the first sentence. I also think that "one dog owner too many had been" would be better without the "too many." And "Failure was not an option" might be a little cliche. But it definitely hooks.
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snapper
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Well I didn't say I hated the first line, but I must say the way it is worded could be misconstrude.
If you were using that slight-of-hand double-entredre for a hook, by then all means keep it.

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LAJD
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Thanks all for the comments! I have re-worked the beginning of this. I pulled out the backstory, but now I am not sure if this is just too much action without really knowing why. Sigh. I am going nuts. The next paragraph does explain a bit about why he is doing this....
8)
Thanks
Leslie


The Mitchell Park faeries were out of control, and since Brian had left for college, they were my problem
“Nasty little vermin,” I hissed. The nest I was working on was in the big stand of pines next to the dog run. It stank of pine, dog, and dirty fairie. The faeries, masters of public park design and strategy, had infested the one tree that was only accessible from inside the dog run; so I dodged pinecone missiles only to land in dog crap land mines. I hated faeries.
“Jerks,” I bellowed. Thirty feet up, a tree limb shuddered. Bits of pine dust sprinkled down like sticky confetti. Ugh. I aimed my water pistol, felt a hot pain on the side of my head, and missed the nest entirely. I looked over as they hurled another pinecone from an adjacent tree. I ducked and the sharpened points grazed


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ArachneWeave
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This is a *great* hook. Can't tell you about WotF appropriateness, but I'd read the rest of it. If you want an opinion still, send it to me. It may take me a bit, though.

I don't like the MC much, when he's calling the fairies vermin, but the tone of humor makes me think he may be in for a paradigm shift, and the context is intriguing enough even if he's not redeemed it may be a good read.

Good luck!


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Khalan
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I like the thought in the first sentence, but I don't like its construction. That pair of commas seem to be misplaced and they bug me. I'd be inclined to keep the first line simple: "The Mitchell Park faeries were out of control."

Some sign of gender might be good. I had a girl pictured as the narrator, but from your comment I guess it's a he. Knowing that, "bellowed" makes more sense, since that's not a verb you often see attached to a female character.

///The nest I was working on was in the big stand of pines next to the dog run. It stank of pine, dog, and dirty fairie.///

Of course the faerie nest in a stand of pines next to the dog run stank of pine, dog and dirty faerie. We know the source of the odor from the first sentence, so if the point of the second sentence is to tell us that there is a godawful stink, make the sentence about the effect on the narrator, rather than the source. "The sickly sweet smell of sap and feces made my eyes water" or something.

Also - be consistent on Faerie v. Fairie.

///The faeries, masters of public park design and strategy///

I have no idea what this means.

///so I dodged pinecone missiles only to land in dog crap land mines///

This is awkward to me. I get from reading on that the faeries are throwing pine cones, but that isn't immediately clear. I guess that the dogs aren't intentionally trying to crap under the narrator's feet, but I'm not certain. Maybe something like "I couldn't watch my footing and keep an eye on the faeries at the same time, so I kept stepping dog crap when I tried to dodge the pine cones they were flinging at me." Also, consider the age and attitude (and frustration level) of your narrator. If the submission guidelines of your target allow it, you might want to swap "crap" for something stronger.

///I hated faeries.///

I might be wrong, but I'd change tense here, possibly throw it in italics. "I hate faeries."

Despite the nits, I would keep reading.


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