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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Blood Kiss (fantasy)

   
Author Topic: Blood Kiss (fantasy)
pixydust
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Thanks guys! Got plenty of offers. I'll repost when the next version is ready.

[This message has been edited by pixydust (edited April 13, 2009).]


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bluephoenix
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Heya .

First off, apologies, but what is WoF? Only thing I could think of was 'world of fantasy'; I just haven't heard the term before, lol.

Anyway, the opening. I love those first three sentences - perfect opening gambit. Only thing there that stuck out at me was the comma in 'first night, to sink'. I'm pretty sure there's nothing wrong with it; I think it's just because I would've used a hyphen there instead, myself.

Then you change tack completely. Were those first few lines a flashback, or a 'flashforward' (no idea what the actual term is)? I think it's ok to start with one, but because yours is so short, I found the transition quite jarring. As for the rest of the prose itself, it's still pretty good, but it's not as polished as those first lines, somehow, and it's littered with clichés.

Being the only woman in the village able to defend herself [slight, though forgivable infodump], I was the one sent outside the gate to gather branches for the ceremony ['the ceremony' on its own is fine, but together with the others is the first in a list of clichés] fires. Snow and needles crunched beneath my feet as I walked the rim of the forest, my dagger close at hand, watching the shadows. There were many enemies surrounding our village; man, beast, and … [that ellipsis has a very 'dundunduuuunnn!' quality to it, here. I'd scrap it] Other ['Other(s)' is very cliché]. But the task [verges on cliché] had to be done. In six days time Beltane would light up the frozen night. The People [very cliché] would dance and sing [very cliché] to the goddess [very cliché], for mercy, for grace. Once, long, long ago [painfully cliché], it was a time of celebration, a time to

Don't get me wrong, there are some really nice lines in there. I particularly liked 'light up the frozen night', and the description of walking through the forest is pretty good too. As I say, it's just the slightly jarring quality of the transition and the bulk of clichés that hurts this opening. I would not touch those first lines; I think the solution is to eliminate the cliché bits, and then you'll have a fine opening. Your prose is very good, so there's no problems there - it's literally just content at the moment.

I'd like to read the rest of it, but I'm working over the weekend, so it might take me a couple of days to get it back to you (if you want my opinion on the rest of it of course ).

Hope this helped,
Daniel.


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pixydust
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Thanks bluephoenix! Some good catches.

But I'm curious, how do you define a cliche? LOL...


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pixydust
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Oh, and WoF, is Writers of the Future.
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Troy
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Nice to see you again. I'll read it if you can wait for a few weeks for a response. I have other things ahead of it that I'm being slow to get to.

-TL


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dee_boncci
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I'll read too!
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bluephoenix
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Heya, thanks for the WoF explanation, lol.

Define a cliché? Precedent, I suppose. Anything we've seen hundreds of times before; ideas that are hackneyed or overused. I realise that that's a subjective definition, but I couldn't count the number of stories I've read starring 'the People' and/or 'the Others', for example. Hell, I even wrote a story that included bad guys called 'the Others' myself back in secondary school. Goddesses are the stock deity of all fantasy, singing and dancing the typical form of praise, etc. Some things are debateable, but some are so completely cliché that they bypass all discussion.

I'm not saying all clichés are bad and that you should never use them (indeed, I read somewhere that 'clichés are only clichés because they're good and people keep using them', which I kind of agree with), but there's a limit to how far you can go before what you're writing starts to sound like every other story you've ever read.


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pixydust
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Thanks bluephoenix. I just was joking around. I get what you're saying.

You can write about cliche stuff, you just have to do a good job of writing about it. Obviously I'm not. So, perhaps I need to skim through and hide stuff a bit more. Covert cliche, I'll call it.

Oh, and thanks Troy and dee!!! I'll be sending it your way in the next day or two. Still trying to tie up the end a bit. Great to see you guys again! It's been a while.

[This message has been edited by pixydust (edited April 10, 2009).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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You can send it to me, after all, you're checking out my monster.
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pixydust
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LOL...thanks, IB.
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Brant Danay
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I love the title of this. Just a few thoughts.

"I wanted to kill him that first night, to sink my blade into his chest and have done with it."

"Have done with it" sounds cliche

"But his eyes captured me,"

Might want to consider combining this with the first sentence. The word "but" is, technically, not supposed to be start a sentence. I personally don't care about this rule, but I didn't feel the breach of grammar worked in this instance.

"the subtle brush of his hand against my temple--fingers rough and scratchy from climbing trees."

Might want to use a comma instead of a double dash

"Being the only woman in the village able to defend herself, I was the one sent outside the gate to gather branches for the ceremony fires."

"Ceremonial fires" might sound better.

"Snow and needles crunched beneath my feet as I walked the rim of the forest, my dagger close at hand, watching the shadows."

I think you might be going for pine needles here. Without the clarification, though...well, it was an interesting visual. A cool visual, mind you, but probably not what you were going for

Read smooth from this point on. My favorite line in the piece was, "In six days time Beltane would light up the frozen night." This is where the hook sank in, for me.

I know it was mentioned that "People" and "Other" seemed cliched and/or generic. I think that if you changed each into something spiffier it might provide more of a hook. Just my opinion, though, as vagueness may have been what you're going for, or part of the story's style.

Hopefully I've been of some assistance. Keep up the good work.

Brant


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