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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Breath of Durin, Fantasy, Complete, 1.9k

   
Author Topic: The Breath of Durin, Fantasy, Complete, 1.9k
Kaz
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First paragraph. Would anyone read on, and would anyone be interested in reading the whole thing?

Steffon had to cover his eyes from the sun’s glare as he stepped outside the clay hovel. It had once been neatly rectangular, but time and the elements had worn it down to half a ball of earth sticking out of the ground like some stubborn animal. He looked to his right to see whether Fahlan was still where he’d left him and noted with satisfaction that he had not moved at all. Steffon chuckled to himself. Dead men did not, indeed, move.

v.2.0

Steffon covered his eyes from the sun’s glare as he stepped outside the clay hovel. The hovel had once been rectangular, but the the wind had worn it down and the desert had built around it, turning it into half a ball of earth sticking out of the ground like the arched back of a bear. He looked to his right to see whether Fahlan was still where he’d left him and noted that he had not moved at all. Steffon chuckled to himself. Dead men did not, indeed, move.
It had taken a single club blow to the head to kill Fahlan. The lowly piece of maggot bait had stolen his woman, and it’d been only right that Steffon take his life and his possessions. He had left Fahlan’s corpse where it had fallen without so much as an ounce of ceremony.

[This message has been edited by Kaz (edited July 09, 2009).]


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Nick T
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Hi Kaz,

Here are my initial impressions on a quick read (you’re well short of 13 by the way):

quote:
Steffron had to cover

How about “covered”? Minor tightening and gets us straight into the moment.

quote:
It had once been neatly rectangular, but time and the elements had worn it down to half a ball of earth sticking out of the ground like some stubborn animal

First one is probably just me, but for a moment I thought you were talking about the sun. Perhaps “The hovel had once…”?

I’m not sure the “neatly” adds that much to the description…I still get the same image without it.

I think the simile needs more precision; what kind of animal? A half-buried hedgehog looks different to a half-buried dog, so if you’re going to draw us out of the narrative to make a comparison, I think it needs to be a sharp and specific one.

I’m not sure how a clay building can degenerate all the way from a rectangle to a hemisphere either? I can visualize the sharp corners of a rectangle being worn away, but you’re implying that the entire building has changed structure.

Perhaps I’m not getting a good picture of what kind of building it is?

quote:
and noted with satisfaction that he had not moved at all. Steffon chuckled to himself.

For me, Steffon chuckling shows his satisfaction.

quote:
Dead men did not, indeed, move.

This works as a hook for me, but only on the expectation that you’re giving us a world where whether dead men move is quite uncertain. Otherwise it’s a bit of a silly statement for Steffon to think.

It doesn’t really paint Steffon as sympathetic either way, but there’s a nice hook of curiosity to find out how this all came about.

Regards,

Nick

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited July 08, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited July 08, 2009).]


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snapper
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Nick has caught everything that I saw, Curious to know why you stopped a few lines short of 13. The biggest nit that Nick pointed out is the building changing structure. I could believe it if the wind rounded the corners and the sand built around it. That would give it the shape you wrote.
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Kaz
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Thanks for the feedback. Revised thirteen here. The reason I stopped at 7 is that the first paragraph used to be larger, but suffered some shortening as I edited it the first time round.

Steffon covered his eyes from the sun’s glare as he stepped outside the clay hovel. The hovel had once been rectangular, but the the wind had worn it down and the desert had built around it, turning it into half a ball of earth sticking out of the ground like the arched back of a bear. He looked to his right to see whether Fahlan was still where he’d left him and noted that he had not moved at all. Steffon chuckled to himself. Dead men did not, indeed, move.
It had taken a single club blow to the head to kill Fahlan. The lowly piece of maggot bait had stolen his woman, and it’d been only right that Steffon take his life and his possessions. He had left Fahlan’s corpse where it had fallen without so much as an ounce of ceremony.


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alliedfive
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Steffon covered his eyes [from]-against? the sun’s glare as he stepped outside the clay hovel. [The hovel]-You say "hovel" twice in three words here. I noticed. had once been rectangular, but the the wind had worn it down and the desert had built around it, turning it into half a ball of earth sticking out of the ground like the arched back of a bear. He looked to his right to see whether Fahlan was still where he’d left him and noted that he had not moved at all. Steffon chuckled to himself. Dead men did not, indeed, move.Good Start. I'm wondering why he's dead, why this guy doesn't seem to care.

It had taken a single club blow to the head to kill Fahlan. The lowly piece of maggot bait had stolen his woman, and it’d been only right that Steffon take his life and his possessions. He had left Fahlan’s corpse where it had fallen without so much as an ounce of ceremony.Hmm. That pretty much explains the questions raised in the first paragraph, and doesn't raise any new ones. At this point, it seems like we came in at the end of a different story (wife cheating, killing). There is no hint at the conflict of this story.


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Kaz
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You raise a good point. Does knowing that the story is Horror-Fantasy help?
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keithjgrant
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I'll take a look. Send it my way.
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Kaz
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Sent.
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waterchaser
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Just out curiosity, did you intentionally put a character from LOTR in the title? No worries, I was just wondering if there was a connection.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I think Durin is a name that Tolkien took from Norse folklore (or old English folklore), so it wasn't original with him either.
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