Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Marbles - Version 5 - Dark Fantasy - 4600 words

   
Author Topic: Marbles - Version 5 - Dark Fantasy - 4600 words
BoredCrow
Member
Member # 5675

 - posted      Profile for BoredCrow   Email BoredCrow         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
6/11:
Any others willing to read this? I've made a lot of changes even since I sent this out last month and now it's (hopefully) almost ready for submission.

Here's the current first thirteen:

Sarah peeked past the curtain and watched the man move down the street toward her. As he walked, he constantly turned his head to scan his surroundings. It hadn't been her imagination then; he really was following her. For the past ten minutes, he'd been hovering nearby, at the back of every store and the edge of every crowd. But whenever she'd taken a step toward him, he'd slunk away. She wondered if she should go confront him, but she dismissed the idea. She wasn't in the mood to interrogate suspicious men.
He paused just on the other side of the window from where she stood hidden. Sarah, peering through the tiniest crack in the curtain, could see the bright blue of his eyes, and the frustration evident on his face. He didn't look dangerous; he


(versions from May)
***
Midway through the afternoon, Sarah finally lost her pursuer. She stood in the shadows of an alley and watched him stride by, his bright blue eyes scanning the length of the street. He'd followed her for the past half an hour, lurking in the corners of shops and at the back of crowds, staring at her. Only when he had long passed from view did she dare to run the other way down the avenue.
When she judged that she'd run far enough, she stumbled to a halt, gasping at the strain in her legs and lungs. Anxiety still hummed throughout her body, making it difficult for her to catch her breath properly. She couldn't imagine why he'd followed her. There was nothing about her that should attract a pursuer; she was not richly dressed and she was not beautiful.
***


TAKE 2:
Sarah stood in the corner of the busy shop and watched the man stride right past the store's window. He walked quickly, his bright blue eyes scanning the length of the street. She jerked her head back before he could see her, her heart racing. It hadn't been her imagination then; he really had been following her. For the past half an hour, he'd been at the back of every store and the end of every street she'd walked on. A shiver of anxiety ran through her. She couldn't fathom why anyone would follow her.
Once the man was long gone, Sarah slipped out of the store and moved back to the busier part of downtown, keeping to the crowded streets. If she saw him again, she could call the police. She picked up her cell phone, and scowled to see that


[This message has been edited by BoredCrow (edited May 15, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by BoredCrow (edited June 11, 2009).]


Posts: 554 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nick T
Member
Member # 8052

 - posted      Profile for Nick T   Email Nick T         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi BoredCrow,

Looks okay, but I tripped up at:

quote:
There was nothing about her that should attract a pursuer; she was not richly dressed and she was not beautiful.

They seemed unlikely thoughts from a POV perspective, given the situation as described. You've said that he lurks at the back of the crowds, which implies there are people around. That makes the idea of being robbed or assaulted pretty unlikely, so why she'd think that is strange. Just the thought process "well, I'm not beautiful, so he can't have been chasing me to assault me" seems unlikely.

Regards,

Nick


Nick


Posts: 706 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Owasm
Member
Member # 8501

 - posted      Profile for Owasm   Email Owasm         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with Nick. Everything is fine until that last bit of thought. It's too passive and lets all of the air out of the tension balloon at probably the wrong place. It would be better to say she had no idea why anyone would pursue her and leave it at that.

One other nit. 'She stood in the shadows...' This froze the action for me... then she's running the other way. I hate advising any one to stick in a 'had', but I think if the 'stood' was rewritten as 'had stood' it will help out some readers that may be jarred by the incorrectly interpreting the tense. Another solution would be 'dared to run out of the alley and back down the avenue'or something to that effect.

It's a good hook. Lots of tension and action.


Posts: 1607 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BoredCrow
Member
Member # 5675

 - posted      Profile for BoredCrow   Email BoredCrow         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks! Great points. I'd meant the bit about not being beautiful as a measure of her extremely low self-esteem, but I'm not attached to the phrase. And thanks for the ideas on the tenses, Owasm. I'd felt a bit unsure about my portrayal of the action there.
Posts: 554 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
monstewer
Member
Member # 5883

 - posted      Profile for monstewer   Email monstewer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Bc, I think I must owe you about a hundred crits by now, I'll be glad to have a look at this for you.
Posts: 373 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
satate
Member
Member # 8082

 - posted      Profile for satate   Email satate         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You can send it to me.
Posts: 962 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi BC,

I am afraid my nitpicks are a bit larger.


quote:
Sarah finally lost her pursuer.

From what you described, the man that was tailing her sounds like a stalker and not a pursuer. Pursuer implies that he is actively trying to apprehend her. Where that may be the case it isn't apparent to Sarah at this point.

quote:
She stood in the shadows of an alley and watched him stride by, his bright blue eyes scanning the length of the street.

A little difficult to see the color of his eyes from a dark alley UNLESS she is very close to him. So close that I don't know how he wouldn't be able to find her.

quote:
He'd followed her for the past half an hour, lurking in the corners of shops and at the back of crowds, staring at her. Only when he had long passed from view did she dare to run the other way down the avenue.

Crowds are safe, dark alleys are not. Several different things she could have done that would have been preferable. First would be to approach a person of authority.

quote:
When she judged that she'd run far enough, she stumbled to a halt, gasping at the strain in her legs and lungs. Anxiety still hummed throughout her body, making it difficult for her to catch her breath properly.

This is understandable. I could buy that she is panicked and reacted irrationally. However this does not help your next line.

quote:
She couldn't imagine why he'd followed her.

This is what blows any chance where I could buy your premise. If she were a thief, or a princess, or had something else that would help us learn a bit of her background, I could then buy why she would flee a safer area in place of the worst place a woman alone could be caught. At best I can only feel sympathy for a scared girl, at worst I shake my head at her stupity. Either one doesn't hook me to your opening.

quote:
she was not richly dressed and she was not beautiful.

dual 'she was'. I suggest you cut the second one.

The first paragraph is another example of your smooth prose. The second takes us out of the action you established to offer some backstory that tells us too little to matter. I suggest you focus on that part. Maybe moved that back a bit and write what is happening that moment. Her panic, his cold demeanor, whats goign on in her head, something that keeps the pace and mood that you started with.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited May 15, 2009).]


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd agree with the idea of giving more of her emotional reaction to the situation.

I'll read it if you want to send it on.


Posts: 4210 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BoredCrow
Member
Member # 5675

 - posted      Profile for BoredCrow   Email BoredCrow         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Snapper, you make some annoyingly pertinent points.

I didn't mean to imply any lack of caution in Sarah. She's scared, not stupid. Her overreaction is part of the premise of the story. However, perhaps a dark alley was the wrong place to put her. The idea is that she steps out of sight, hides somewhere to let the stranger pass her by. But perhaps I overblew the sense of danger. There are a lot of people around, and she's more creeped out than frightened (except for her overreaction thing).

But if I have to write a large explanatory paragraph like that, then clearly I need to modify the first thirteen. Which I've done in the first post.


Posts: 554 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
thayerds
Member
Member # 3260

 - posted      Profile for thayerds   Email thayerds         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Take two fixed it. A vast improvement that both caught and held my interest. Well done.
Posts: 84 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JustinArmstrong
Member
Member # 8607

 - posted      Profile for JustinArmstrong   Email JustinArmstrong         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love the second Take on this. I've been staring at it for about 15 minutes, and I have no majors problems with it. I'm very interested to see where it goes. I'd be very interested in reading and reviewing the entire story.

Justin.Robert.Armstrong@gmail.com

I can probably have it back to you in a day. Two tops.


Posts: 17 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Sarah stood in the corner of the busy shop and watched the man stride right past the store's window.

The first time I read this I assumed she was looking at his reflection in the glass. I realized on the second read that she is inside the shop looking out the window. This is a problem for me. If she was able to slip into a shop then how closely could mystery blue-eyes could have been following?

quote:
He walked quickly, his bright blue eyes scanning the length of the street. She jerked her head back before he could see her, her heart racing.

This made her seem paranoid to me. If that is what you were after it worked on me.

quote:
It hadn't been her imagination then; he really had been following her. For the past half an hour, he'd been at the back of every store and the end of every street she'd walked on. A shiver of anxiety ran through her. She couldn't fathom why anyone would follow her.

A logical assumption for a paranoid woman to make that believes a man is after her.

This did resolve some of the issues I had before but your hook is less sharp. I believe that you are starting in the wrong place.
Have you considered starting a little earlier? Perhaps at the point when she first sees new blue-eyes? I believe witnessing the moment when Sarah is still an afternoon shopper enjoying her day become a person who believes she is in danger by some stranger would be a dynamite hook.


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BoredCrow
Member
Member # 5675

 - posted      Profile for BoredCrow   Email BoredCrow         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(Posting for new version, and new plea for crits)
Posts: 554 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JeffBarton
Member
Member # 5693

 - posted      Profile for JeffBarton   Email JeffBarton         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I became fair game since your first round and the current hook obviously got me. I'll read it if you like.
Posts: 243 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have no complaints on the premise this time but your hook is gone. It is just a creepy guy that the MC isn't sure is following her. Done so much that it borders on cliche.
Nevertheless, I would be happy to read it. Send it along if you have a week to wait for a crit. I am very busy this weekend so it won't be until monday before I can view it.

Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cheyne
Member
Member # 7710

 - posted      Profile for Cheyne   Email Cheyne         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I will read if you're still looking and can wait about a week for a response. I start holidays on Friday!
Posts: 340 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHopper
Member
Member # 8652

 - posted      Profile for TheHopper   Email TheHopper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would probably be completely useless as a critiqer to this. But it looks like your going to get plenty of help anyway. I think you get a little too caught up in the girl fleeing the stalker that I nearly missed her low-self esteem. Might I suggest having the girl berate herself for letting herself be seen by the man in the first place? Something like, "dummy! How could you attract a stalker?" or something like that.
Posts: 25 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BoredCrow
Member
Member # 5675

 - posted      Profile for BoredCrow   Email BoredCrow         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yup, this one's just about done. But many thanks for the input!
Posts: 554 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JohnMac
Member
Member # 8472

 - posted      Profile for JohnMac   Email JohnMac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Please send this along, I'd love to take at a look at it if I'm not too late.

-John


Posts: 114 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2