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 » God Keep - Sci-Fi/Myth

   
Author Topic: God Keep - Sci-Fi/Myth
Dogmatic
Member
Member # 8425

 - posted      Profile for Dogmatic   Email Dogmatic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi all, I'm looking for readers and/or input on the opening. This is a Sci-Fi/Mythic short about 5300 words.
Many thanks in advance.

GOD KEEP
It was on the third day of prayer and fast that they came. There were no warnings. There were no explosions, or blasts or echoes of destruction to mark their passing. They came in silence. Aloquan sat motionless as the white pierced the darkness of the tent. It was the flood of sunlight that sent him to the ground, temporarily blinded as the tent disintegrated around him; an overloading of the senses as he covered his face with one hand, the other groping in the brightness of confusion. It was smell that came back to him first. The acrid scent of burning earth and flesh that sucked deep into his lungs as he tried to catch his breath. The taste of sweat and dirt began to fill the dry cracked edges of his mouth. He tried to spit. Then it was the sound; the screams

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited June 04, 2009).]


Posts: 48 | Registered: Jan 2009  |  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'll read.
Posts: 1607 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WouldBe
Member
Member # 5682

 - posted      Profile for WouldBe   Email WouldBe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good title, and I like the premise quite a bit. I think knowing what they were praying for would give the opening more zing, though.

I frequently hear warnings about beginning with "It was" and similar passive wording. (You just can't help but think of 'It was a dark and stormy night'.) Perhaps cut to the chase with: On the third day of prayer and and fasting.... It sounds very OT that way. Here are your words with less punctuation and fill words:

On the third day of prayer and fasting they came, with no warnings. No explosions or blasts or echoes of destruction marked their passing.

I think similar reduction of stuff that slows down the reading would help the rest, as well as more active phrasing. It seems like a long opening paragraph. Perhaps you can find a natural break point. One other thing that might bolster anticipation would be to give a hint about whether the MC was shocked at or expecting this punishment. (The purpose of the prayer, mentioned before, might serve this purpose: forgive us our trespasses, even though we smashed all your idols to bits in a drunken rage. Sorry.


Posts: 746 | 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 
I'm not as against "it was" as some, but I can't see what benefit you get here by using that rather than just "They came on..."

I think I'd like a new paragraph after "The came in silence." I think it would somehow add more gravitas to those opening sentences.

The first thing that really stopped me was "the white pierced the darkness" What is the reader supposed to be picturing here? The white what? After that I got a little lost--"sent" is more often than not a very weak word to use; in what way does the sunlight send him to the ground? And how?

"overloading of the senses as he covered his face with one hand" Sounds a little strange to me, almost as though there is a tense shift there. Also, his "senses" are overloaded and yet they came in silence? And you haven't mentioned any smell, so really is it just his sight that is overloaded rather than all his senses?

groping in the brightness of confusion A bit nitpicky, but if a tent had just disintegrated about me, I wouldn't be sticking my hand out there. What is he groping for? I think I'd just curl into a ball or something.

and cries of his people, calling out, not sure you need that comma after "people".

Excellent last sentence

I must admit I wasn't hooked until that last sentence--it just seemed a little rushed and distant, nothing to really connect to, and I was unsure how he had lost all his senses. I think the loss of his sight worked very well, losing the other senses didn't seem to add to the story anything other than confusion.

If you don't mind waiting possibly over a week for the crit, feel free to send it over.


Posts: 373 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  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