here's the first 13 of it. i'm still working on it, but i want to know how the intro sounds.
The music was wonderful. The rising pitch and largo tempo in the first fifteen measures were as breathtaking as the last fifteen. It built slowly in speed over the next forty measures up to an andante pace, to which it stayed for the majority of the song. Slightly slower and faster segments were strewn throughout the rest of the piece. The last part slowed back down as if it was coming to a stop sign on a road. The pure notes and length to which they were held as it ended was splendid. With all the help I was giving them, there was no growth without the music. One note of that song by itself never would do anything to the plants in my experiment. I used cannas in my work since
Can't say it grabs me. I quite like to LISTEN to music, but to read it DESCRIBED is pretty boring/difficult to do. I won't comment on the prose because I think you are going to need to re-write the intro presumably starting where the story starts (e.g. something interesting happens).
I don't think you would lose anything just to use the first and last three sentences and throw away the middle, e.g.
The music was wonderful. With all the help I was giving them (what them?), there was no growth without the music. One note of that song by itself never would do anything to the plants in my experiment. I used cannas in my work since
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited January 09, 2010).]
I'm assuming this is for the Music for Another World anthology?
If that be the case, then it is very important that music be extremely central to the story.
At this point at least, this is, for you, where the story starts...you may find out different, but if you do, it probably won't be till your finished (its happened to me a few times.)
That being said, the begining is a little heavy especially for those not versed in musical terminology. I think just a few careful cuts may be in order. Let me make a couple suggestions.
quote:The rising pitch and largo tempo in the first fifteen measures were as breathtaking as the last fifteen.
I'd cut the last part. Just say "The rising pitch and largo tempo in the first fifteen measures were(or was? not sure) breathtaking"
quote:It built slowly in speed over the next forty measures up to an andante pace, to which it stayed for the majority of the song
Cut "to which it stayed for the majority of the song."
I really like the "coming to a stop sign on a road" analogy. Very nice. I think the whole fragment is nicely written, good word choice and all. My personal interest is peaked at the mention of an experiment with plants, so I would definitely read further.
It is...but then, interesting is very subjective. And for me, even though all the music terminology was only mildly interesting, my eyes would just skip right to "plant" and I'd be intrigued by "oh, a story about the whole does music make plants grow better idea?" and continue reading. I'd also realize that its clearly trying to let us know up front how into music the character in question is.
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Subjective, yes. However, since this is for an anthology presumably the idea is too make it interesting for many people, something which I believe is difficult to do in an interesting way.
As you point out you would 'skip' the music description bit and jump to the plant bit. That begs the point, why write the musical description bit? If you want to make music central to the story you can do so in other more interesting ways.
Why not talk about how the music made the narrator feel, perhaps comparing it to the data from sensors attached to the plants...perhaps there is some correlation when a crescendo is reached or when violins join...
Anyway the musical description was abstract and didn't interest me. I know your opinion on first 13's but this intro lacked anything to encourage me to read on--mostly because it spent to much time describing music...
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited January 09, 2010).]
"The rising pitch and largo tempo in the first fifteen measures were as breathtaking as the last fifteen."
OK, I don't know much about music, but the way you state this implies the last fifteen measures have already happened, and now the irst fifteen are.
Music is a VERY difficult subject to deal with as it is difficult to describe, and such a subjective experience (in pre-internet days I read many a music paper and the reviews rarely actually gave me ANY idea of what a band or piece sounded like). For me, although you clearly put a lot of effort into the description of the music, it still comes over as "telling" not showing (I think because of the bald statement it opens with - interestingly, I have done similar things myself in the past so now I can see to avoid it). I'd much rather see a more internalised reaction to the music, or the interaction between music and plants that seems to be what the story is actually about.
But its for an anthology of music-related stories, therefore anybody not interested in or not prepared for musical content probably isn't going to matter for that purpose.
Yes, its a smaller target audience but not everything is meant to be as appealing as possible to as many people as possible. This is inherently true of themed anthologies...I am planning a story currently intended to be potentially submitable both to this Music anthology, and an upcoming Atlantis anthology. Not everybody, not even everybody who likes speculative fiction is interested in Atlantis, so the story will be less interesting to some. Ohh well.
The music part would interest me, but I also like plants a lot...and, I "skip" most intros or at least zoom in on the highest level of interesting in a given thing like most people no doubt do. Thats why I suggested what I did...I don't think cutting all the musical parts would be beneficial, but getting to more of the rest more quickly would, so, find a way to combine the two.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited January 09, 2010).]
here's a rewrite that i like a lot better, expecially since it gets down to the nitty gritty sooner
The music was wonderful. The rising pitch and slow tempo in the first fifteen measures were as breathtaking as the last fifteen. The pure notes and length to which they were held as it ended was splendid. The pleasure of listening to it was almost intoxicating. I just hoped it worked in my experiment as well as I had seen it work in the wild.
Everybody told me I was a fool for trying it. But, no enchanter could make living things grow. I told them it wasn’t in the magic, but in the music, especially the music of life. Laughed out of the Hall by the venerable heads of my order I was. Nonetheless, I managed to find what I had been looking for. The
Is that little bit of "Yoda speak" at the end there intentional?
Now, I don't know what its going to be not having the rest, but I would just mention that the editor of Music for Another World (assuming again thats the anthology your going for) has mentioned not wanting "sword and sorcery." But, exactly what that means isnt totally clear to me...I really should ask..
Edit: Also, traditionally people place re-dos of their intros into the first post via editing, for ease of access for people viewing the thread.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited January 10, 2010).]
I think if you changed the order of action very slightly, it'd hook me a great deal more -- something like
"This had to work. The experiment called for intoxicating music and this delivered: The rising pitch and slow tempo ..."
That would hook me straight away, since it immediately puts emphasis on the experiment, and I'm suddenly wondering what music could possibly have to do with a scientific query. I know that as it is, you get that impression as you go, but I'd rather have it slap me right in the face as soon as it starts, you know what I mean?