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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Fantasy: No title

   
Author Topic: Fantasy: No title
Reddog
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All comments very welcome. Have only written a few hundred words of this and not sure where it's going.

Shermal awoke with the rough stone floor pressing into his cheek and his left eye throbbing painfully. Near his face lay remnants of the small animals that had been his dinner. The sight of their scattered little bones made Shermal sad, so he rolled onto his back. But then looking up at the table from the floor he thought, Drunk again, and felt sadder. He turned onto his other side--and instantly recognized the stylish boots of the master's daughter planted very close to his face. How long has she been there? Fear jolted Shermal completely awake.
“You’re late! You were told to be at the House at dawn!”
She brought one dainty boot back and kicked him hard in the cheek, just missing his eye. Shermal gagged and passed out.


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MrsBrown
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Ha! This opening sure got my attention. At the first sentence I thought Oh no, not the cliché waking-up-on-the-floor opening. But then the small animals for dinner made me think that Shermal is some kind of animal and I thought, Okay, that’s different. (Usually we think of meat for dinner, not animals, but maybe that’s because we are so far removed from the carcass; it’s an interesting notion.) I loved the phrase “their scattered little bones made Shermal sad” – it has a sweetness that makes Shermal very sympathetic. But then he’s drunk—wait, he’s human? And he’s sad about being drunk—a little more sympathy, and I wonder why sad? I would expect regret or shame or simple physical discomfort (I'm glad you didn't go with that last one.) Then the action starts. Oh yes, I like his perspective of the boots, and the sudden need to get moving. The dainty boot that kicked him hard enough to knock him out. I am curious to read on. I very much like this character and want to know what makes him tick.

Suggestions: Have him already awake in the first sentence. Don’t mention “cheek and eye” twice (my biggest nit). Be sure to follow up soon, why the small bones and drunkeness made him sad. Also tell me quick how he fits into this household, since I find it odd that this girl/young woman(?) is able to inspire fear in what I presume to be a grown man.

Nice start

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited September 30, 2010).]


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Reddog
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thank you, Mrs. Brown. Wonderful useful comments.

Red


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redux
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Just like MrsBrown, I too am intrigued and curious to see what will happen next. Your descriptions succeed in creating interest by presenting things you normally wouldn't associate together - such as dainty boots with a violent kick.

I noticed a typo - How long has she been there? - 'has' should be changed to 'had' to keep the story consistent with the past tense.

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by redux (edited October 01, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by redux (edited October 01, 2010).]


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s_merrell
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Your opener with commentary:

Shermal awoke with the rough stone floor pressing into his cheek and his left eye throbbing painfully. (Generally speaking, beginning the story with the character waking up is a pretty overused concept... just something to consider.)

Near his face lay remnants of the small animals that had been his dinner. The sight of their scattered little bones made Shermal sad, so he rolled onto his back. (But then looking up at the table from the floor he thought)<-- (This is worded fairly awkwardly, so you might try rewording it; italicizing thoughts indicate that they're thinking, so you don't have to point it out so bluntly)-->, Drunk again, and felt sadder.

He turned onto his other side--and instantly recognized the stylish boots of the master's daughter planted very close to his face. How long has she been there? Fear jolted Shermal completely awake.
“You’re late! You were told to be at the House at dawn!”
She brought one dainty boot back and kicked him hard in the cheek, just missing his eye. Shermal gagged and passed out.

I take it that this is a comedic story... That seems to be what the choice in style indicates. Exaggerated responses, etc. Is that right?

This is a pretty simple opener, with a lot of contemplation and exposition. Shermal wakes up, is obviously thrashed, gluttonous, regretful, and in trouble. He needs to be somewhere. Some "dainty" girl comes in and knocks him out--if he's big and strong, that works against the believability of the situation. Unless it's comedic. But then, you can only push the unbelievable so far.

The fragment seems to kill off the possibility for future development. Unless the next sentence says that he woke up a few minutes later or something, we've got someone who just woke up for a thought or two and then passed out again. Sure, he needs to be at "the House", but we don't really recognize the full extent of how significant that is (yet).

If this is just a little blurb between states of unconsciousness, then is this really the appropriate place to begin your story? Take that into consideration. All in all, it's a decent way to set up some imperatives right at the get-go, but it needs to give the reader more incentives to keep reading; i.e. "the hook".

That's just my take on it.


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