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Author Topic: These Wanderers
Member # 9012

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I'm not sure where I want to go with this story, and I know the waking opening is cliche. I decided to give it a try anyway, though.


It looked like the frame of an old bicycle, warped and mangled almost beyond recognition and half-buried in a think layer of snow. Maceo shifted his focus elsewhere. It hurt to keep his eyes open for longer than a few moments and his head throbbed as he tried to orient himself to his surroundings. A few abandoned, decrepit buildings littered the otherwise empty landscape, like dirty footprints marring the smooth finish of a fresh blanket of snow. There was no sign of life anywhere he could see. After sincere consideration, he decided that this was probably not the afterlife. If anything, this was a dream, a subliminal world he now found himself in, though he couldn’t recall quite how he had gotten here. When he tried to bring up the last thing he could remember, there were only fuzzy suggestions. And a faint name. Pia.

[This message has been edited by redapollo9 (edited July 30, 2010).]

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Member # 8617

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In the first line, what is it? If it is an old bicycle frame, then don't say it looked like one. If it isn't an old frame, let me know what it is. You just switched to something else. Also, I'm betting you meant thick layer of snow, instead of a think one.

As for the general waking cliche, I think this worked pretty well. I wasn't slapped in the face with the cliche, and in fact, I wonder if the guy's waking or asleep or what.

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Member # 5682

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If this is a dream about Pia Zadora...never mind.

If this is actually a dream he's stuck in, I think that is a fantasy element separate from the opening dream cliche. Stories suffering from that issue usually have little to do with dreaming.

Nevertheless, it might be wise to open the story with the main character in a waking state so that an editor with a hair-trigger reject button (which is all of them, I think) won't mistake it for a cliche opening.

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Member # 2818

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I didn't really see this as a waking opening, so it worked for me. I do suggest cutting down on the descriptive landscape a bit. So far nothing has happened. Let something happen and work in the landscape a little at a time and only bring in the things that are important to the story. Is the bicycle frame looking thingy important to the story? If not, cut it. Same thing for the rest. Get to some sort of action and fill in from there. I might read on for a paragraph to see if anything interesting happens, if not, I'm putting it aside.
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Member # 5174

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I don't really care about cliches, but this did feel a bit like the waking up kind. Like your descriptions for the most part, but agree with babooher about that first sentence. Also, I suggest you lead with Maceo's eye/head pain - I can feel it, and it gives more possibilities to explain his uncertainty.
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Member # 9209

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Two things stop me from reading on in a story - heavy writing and not enough happening that interests me. I read yours to the end and would have carried on.

I found your style easy to read, but if you move (or tighten up)your descriptions, as others have suggested, I think you could fit a whole lot more hook into your 13 lines. (Says me as if I find it that easy)

I have been picked up in the past about starting sentences with, WHEN - something about putting the event before the subject. It might be useful to know that there are people out there that don't like it. I also stopped beginning sentences with IT because I discovered I was not clear enough on what IT was.
Have you finished this or plotted it out? I'd be happy to read more.

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Member # 8590

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It is good, it is. Consider, however, trimming it A LOT. You write well and cleanly and then it looks like you insert extra verbiage which doesn't serve to advance anything.

also, after 'subliminal world', this next part reads inconsistent. He thinks its a dream, then he wonders how he got here in the real world, so he knows it is no dream.

So be stingier with your words! If fewer words do what you need, use fewer words.


He couldn’t recall how he'd gotten here, just confusion and..a name.


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Member # 7354

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Regardless of my opinions of the ‘dream’ cliché, the fact that Maceo had to think about where he was makes this scene (in my mind, anyway) a non-cliché, which means there’s one less of my pre-conceived nits getting in the way of enjoying the story. Also…the title kinda justified this supposed cliché’s existence, anyway.

One thing that bugs me is the reuse of the same key word or phrase in the same paragraph:

“...half-buried in a think (by now, you’ve no doubt seen this typo) layer of snow.”

“...of a fresh blanket of snow”

Either one of these usages of ‘snow’ as a description paints a nice visual, but using that same word in that capacity twice in the same paragraph causes it to lose its visual potency. It’s a personal nit of mine, to be sure, but I thought I’d offer it up for your consideration.

The ‘fuzzy suggestions’ description was a bit too vague for me. I would like to know what some of those suggestions are…they can still be fuzzy inside Maceo’s mind, but giving the reader something more to see could very well drum up more interest in Maceo’s situation.


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