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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » "Brightspear"

   
Author Topic: "Brightspear"
C L Lynn
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Any comments are welcome, and I'm always looking for readers for the whole story. Thanks!
------

He rode from the mirage on an armored horse. The dunes of the Nahad stretched around him like the crests of a yellow sea, and the afternoon sun lanced off dark mail and plate armor.
Keeping lookout below the sandstone cliffs, Tiraza ducked into the shadow of a boulder and watched the rider approach. How could a man encased in steel survive the Nahadi heat? She pulled a javelin from the quiver. Perhaps it was not a man at all, though Tiraza had never heard of the scaly Dunewalkers taking to the saddle. Sitting as straight as the javelin, the rider cut a direct path toward the fluted face of the cliffs.
Vultures circled over his head. The horse dragged two carcasses. The large black bodies carved runnels in the sand, and the south wind that wafted up the cliff face carried the reptilian stink of
-----
Forgot to mention that the story is about 9.8k words

[This message has been edited by C L Lynn (edited February 09, 2009).]


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alliedfive
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Really atmospheric, excellent sense of place and setting. It's a subtle hook, and relies on us caring about the dead people (which we don't yet), but I was sucked in enough by the atmosphere to not care about that.

Only suggestion I have is two swap these two sentences so they read like this:

The horse dragged two carcasses; vultures circled overhead.

The way you have it now, the emphasis is on the vultures instead of the bodies.


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alliedfive
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Oh yeah, almost forgot. I'll read the whole thing. Send it on!
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TheOnceandFutureMe
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I'd like to read this. Send it my way.
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Dogmatic
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Hi,
Good job. It pulled me in.

A few notes - You mention Armor twice in the first lines, once for the horse and once for the rider then again when you mention encased in steel. Is there a way to combine the first two armor references? There may be a shorter and more poetic way to say what you're saying. Also the "Like.. a yellow sea" gave me pause since a simile at least for me should refer to something that I'm familiar with and connect with. Although this just might be me.

Also a minor note was the words "fluted face" bothered me a bit but I can't tell you why. It just didn't sound smooth. Usually when I read I get into the flow of the piece and if anything stops that flow it should be intentional for some dramatic or informational effect. If it's not then I have to ask myself why is it stopping me?

Overall I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.
Steve

He rode from the mirage on an armored horse. The dunes of the Nahad stretched around him like the crests of a yellow sea, and the afternoon sun lanced off dark mail and plate armor.
Keeping lookout below the sandstone cliffs, Tiraza ducked into the shadow of a boulder and watched the rider approach. How could a man encased in steel survive the Nahadi heat? She pulled a javelin from the quiver. Perhaps it was not a man at all, though Tiraza had never heard of the scaly Dunewalkers taking to the saddle. Sitting as straight as the javelin, the rider cut a direct path toward the fluted face of the cliffs.
Vultures circled over his head. The horse dragged two carcasses. The large black bodies carved runnels in the sand, and the south wind that wafted up the cliff face carried the reptilian stink of


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Crystal Stevens
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I really like this piece. It has a nice flow and rhythm to it. There's only one thing missing in the description... at least for me. If the rider is dragging something behind his horse, wouldn't we be seeing a cloud of sand created by the dragged bodies? Of course if the sand is wet instead of dry, I could understand the lack of a sand cloud. I know it's a small point, but it did nag at me when I tried to visualize the scene.

Overall, good job.


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Toby Western
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I also like. Will also read if you would like to send it my way.
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Bent Tree
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I can have a look, but I can't promise a quickie. I have been doin lots of crittin lately.


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honu
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fantastic imagery I would like to read the first couple of chapters....... please send

[This message has been edited by honu (edited February 09, 2009).]


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Brant Danay
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I found this quite interesting and well-done, especially the last half with the cool creatures and mysterious rider.

He rode from the mirage on an armored horse.

Random musing: it might be cool to make the mirage something specific, maybe even symbolic.

the afternoon sun lanced off dark mail and plate armor.

"the rays of the afternoon sun" or something similar might work better

She pulled a javelin from the quiver.

"her quiver" might work better

In regards to the fluted face of the cliffs, I love the sound of it but I'm not sure what it means. I've got a few different images in my mind, all of them fascinating, so I think with just a tad more description here you'll have some pretty nice scenery.

Looks like this is going to be a good one. Love the name Tiraza. Keep up the great work,

Brant

[This message has been edited by Brant Danay (edited February 10, 2009).]


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tealeaf412
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I'm definitely drawn in by this. I think you've done very well painting a distinct image in a few words.

The only thing I'm iffy on is the bit about "the afternoon sun lanced off dark mail and plate armor." The "lanced" pun with the knight-like figure is clever but it feels a little gimmicky to me. You might be able to do without this line altogether, or switching the verb for a slightly different image.

I'd love to read if you'd like to send.


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C L Lynn
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Thanks, tealeaf, I hadn't caught the tie between knights and lances. I'll lie and say I did if you call me clever again.

Manuscript is on its way.


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LAJD
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Hi CL
This one sounds great. Send it over and I'll take a read.

Leslie


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bemused
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Definitely an atmospheric hook, and slowly entices the reader in. I did have some question about pov though. At first I felt like I was supposed to identify with the rider, but that shifted to the watcher shortly into the story. If the watcher is the pov, then leaving the gender of the rider undefined (nixing the he of the first line) would lend a little more mystery and fit better with the watcher not being sure if the rider is even human.

Also, if the watcher is the pov, then I would disagree with alliedfive about the vulture line. When I read it I felt as if I was following the thoughts and sights of the watcher who notices the vultures first, leading her to notice that the rider was dragging the bodies. Similarly, the reflection of sunlight off the riders armor seems to be what makes the watcher aware of the rider.

I thought that the intro did a good job of following the pov of the watcher without being written in first person, something I personally have trouble with. I'd be willing to read through the whole thing.


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C L Lynn
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bemused, I had the same idea about the vultures. They would be obvious from a great distance over an open desert whereas dunes and sand and such would obscure the corpses until the rider is closer.

The story is on its way.

BTW, I'd like to thank everybody who offered to read. This response has been overwhelming and wonderful.


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Denem
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This looks like a great read. Wasn't sure about the 'fluted face'. Difficult to get a mental picture for that one.

I'd be happy to read the whole thing if you'd like to send it my way.


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