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Author Topic: The Varenne - Dark/Fantasy (2,000 words)
Devnal
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So I keep all my stories on my ipod (stupid) and I accidentally washed it about a month ago. I thought all my writing was lost until this morning I found the ipod again and plugged it in. VOILA, it worked! So now I have a bunch of short stories finished that I really want to get out to market.

This one is The Varenne, It was part of a writing challenge here on on Hatrack a while ago. I had some good critiques then but I was hoping to have some more critques done on the full story that fall outside the challenges requirements now before I submit it. The Varenne follows the mental decline of young man who finds himself able to communicate with a large obelisk that appeared mysteriously in the centre of his town.


First thriteen:
---------------------------

I find myself, as of late, perched by the bay window of my apartment before bed. I sit and stare out at the mighty obelisk at the city center. Like the finger of a Titan, it is a great, black and ominous thing that blots out the otherwise star filled sky over our serene little city and dwarfs the buildings of downtown. It stands like a guard over us, a protective bird over its nest of younglings. Or perhaps it looms. A predator - awaiting that one poetic moment to crush us all.
In my mindís eye I can see the unfamiliar scribbles and gems that wrap a sinuous trail around the tower during the daylight hours. I can see the sandstone grey of its color and the way it alters to shades of green and blue as the sun

--------------------


Thanks!


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annepin
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Hi Devnal, I remember this one. I'd be willing to read it again.

As for your first 13, I think it does a good job of setting the mood and tone of the piece. But I also think you could pare down the opening paragraph and get more oomph in your writing. You end up just layering adjective after adjective, imagery over imagery. It's mighty, like a giant finger, it's great, black, ominous, giant again, a guardian, a mother bird, and predator.


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snapper
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I too remember this one.

Solid first 13. After reading it a couple of times I must respectfully disagree with the lovely Annepin. I think the first paragraph is solid.
My only nit is the dual 'I can see'(s) in the second paragraph. Find a way to remove one of them.


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skadder
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I find myself, as of late, perched by the bay window of my apartment before bed. I sit and stare out at the mighty obelisk at the city center. Like the finger of a Titan( Doesn't need a capital--he's an elf...not, he's an Elf. An elf is a thing, so is a titan.), it is a great, black and ominous thing that blots out the otherwise star filled sky over our serene little city and dwarfs the buildings of downtown. It stands like a guard over us, a protective bird over its nest of younglings. Or perhaps it looms. A predator - awaiting that one poetic ( Why poetic? Apart from meeting your opening's poetic needs, I can't see that anyone would find being crushed as poetic. Ironic perhaps, if it actually has some guard role as suggested in the previous sentence)moment to crush us all.
In my mindís eye I can see the unfamiliar scribbles and gems that wrap a sinuous trail around the tower during the daylight hours. I can see the sandstone grey of its color and the way it alters to shades of green and blue as the sun

I find it odd that this massive obelisk has no name. In my experience any object of some permanency and size would get a name. It would be the Titan's Finger, or The Obelisk, The Watchful Eagle or The Destroyer. Just having some fun, there, but you get my point...and your protag would know this name and use it in his musings.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited May 11, 2009).]


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Word Weaver
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Wow! You have some powerful imagery here. And, I don't think it's too much. In my opinion, the repetition does a nice job of showing the obsessed nature of your narrator. I'm hooked.

quote:
The Varenne follows the mental decline of young man who finds himself able to communicate with a large obelisk that appeared mysteriously in the centre of his town.

I'll admit that this part of your intro was part of the hook for me. It might be nice to give some sort of hint in your first 13 that the obelisk appeared under mysterious circumstances.


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Devnal
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Thanks a bunch for the input guys
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Dame
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Hi,

This is nicely written. It has a clear tone, (as of late, daylight hours etc.) At first I felt it wasn't quite immediate enough at the very start, but now, I'm not sure. Maybe it adds to the intellectual tone of the MC. But he does come across as a schoolteacher or academic and a bit prone to pensive thought. To me that kind of indicates passivity and it turned me off slightly. But that is very subjective.

I don't know what the finger of a Titan looks like, I think I imagined a Titan was a monster, rather than something with fingers (there's my ignorance showing!) but the only image of a finger that really stands out is a rude gesture and I'm not sure that is what you want to get across. (?)

An ominous "thing" - I find the word "thing" a bit weak here.

"Otherwise star filled" could be cut to make the sentence slightly shorter and smoother.

I can see it standing guard, but a big, phallic tower doesn't quite resonate with the image of a bird to me.

When you added a new thought, "Or perhaps it looms," was when I started to get irritated by the MC. The tower is interesting. I want to know what it is by now not hear vague theories or poetic similies.

The "In my mind's eye" paragraphs are great and give some concrete detail, but I'm a little perplexed as to why your MC is putting so much effort into imagining the thing. Is there any way to show that the MC finds it hard to think of anything else (if that is the case.)

Hope some of this is useful. Please ignore whatever seems irrelevant.

Dame


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arriki
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I find it difficult to picture how an obelisk, tall-yes, but narrow. How can that blot out the major part of the sky from any distance or angle.

Your first sentence -- while I like the styling of it, it is somewhat confusing in context.

I find myself, as of late, perched by the bay window of my apartment before bed. I sit..

Umm - I think what you are trying to convey is that this is repeated. The verb perched fights against this.

I find myself, as of late, perching before bed by the bay window of my apartment.

I'm not sure where the 'before bed' belongs. Perhaps you should move that to the next sentence.

I find myself, as of late, perching by the bay window of my apartment. It is evening and I should be preparing for bed but I sit in my rocking chair (or whatever -- on edge of the window sill or on the floor in my pajamas, etc. but you can make this more real -- my opinion -- with that little touch) and stare out at the mighty obelisk at the city center. Like the finger of a Titan, it is a great, black and ominous thing

another nit -- rather than saying the obelisk is AT the city center, why not say rising from the center of the city --? To me - personal taste -- it seems to flow better

[This message has been edited by arriki (edited May 22, 2009).]


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Sixbells
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This is very beautifully written and perfectly paints the world the reader is entering. But Iím questioning if this is strong enough to start the story? Nothing much happens and itís only after reading half the 13 lines do I feel any tension (A predator awaitingÖ). There is very little in the way of hook, or conflict or action, yet saying this I still love this opening. I would be more than happy to read more. I agree in part with the feedback from the other posts, such as the repeating expression of sitting down etc. The physics of the Obelisk and of course the legacy and expectations attached to any story that uses an obelisk. Perhaps you might think of renaming it, as soon as I read obelisk I expected a 2001 relationship. The name has a history and perhaps you might want to consider giving it a blank sheet of paper. But Iím writing this without knowing if you will tie 2001 into your story and that it is an important aspect of the plot.
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