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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Generous Creator, Merciless Destroyer

   
Author Topic: Generous Creator, Merciless Destroyer
s_merrell
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I'm prepared to be destroyed by all of you because of this fragment. I'm pretty rusty right now, so here goes...

****************

The man was an easy scrawl. I found him in the crowds on the streets of Oversdam, the rain slapping the broken asphalt and passerby alike. He was one of those old ratter gentlemen, with the soggy brown hat and the gloves broken right where the cuff ends and so your arm drips with the wet right down to your chest—and his chest was bare, coat open and all. Kind of a cold fall for a bare chest in Oversdam, but the man seemed to hurry too much to care. I followed him. It's not much difficult to follow a man down these streets, especially when he's moving against traffic.

I got closer and saw that he must've been going for days like this, 'cause his shoes were flip-flapping on the ground all ragged-like and his hair was sloppy too. If it weren't so wet

*******************

I think that's 13 lines, Courier font, Microsoft Word format. That's what the standards were, last time I checked.

Anyway, what do you think?


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

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited October 01, 2010).]


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aspirit
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This is interesting; although, I'm not sure of what to expect from the story..

quote:
with the soggy brown hat and the gloves broken right where the cuff ends and so your arm drips with the wet right down to your chest

I struggled through this phrase. A suggestion: "with a soggy brown hat and [gloves ending before the cuff so water runs right down to the chest / short gloves that allow water to drip past the cuffs right down to the chest]".

Are these the opening lines?


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WouldBe
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I liked the voice of this, although the second paragraph seemed more informal. Consider giving a hint about why the man is being followed. I couldn't get a strong sense of the time or place of this.

Yeah, the bit about the glove and water is too tortured to keep the reader's interest, I think...not important enough for the opening 13, most likely.


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Twiggy
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I may be showing my ignorance here, but what does "The man was an easy scrawl" mean?
Is this something that everyone except me understands?
Tripping up on the first sentence would probably stop me reading on.

"He was one of those old ratter gentlemen"
I'm expecting him to be a gentleman that catches rats. Is that correct?

You do have an interesting narrator's voice but it did give me some problems.
"It's not much difficult to follow a man down these streets, especially when he's moving against traffic."
This is telling, and uses a different tense from the rest of the 13, which takes us out of the story.

I think if you tighten up the descriptions and create more of a hook, like letting us know why the man is being followed, the combination could work well.

Good luck


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NoTimeToThink
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Interesting voice, but a little hard to follow (at first I wasn't sure if I was dealing with poor grammar from the narrator or from the writer) - might be hard to maintain and a distraction, but good luck trying it.

quote:
...drips with the wet right down to your chest—and his chest was bare, coat open and all. Kind of a cold fall for a bare chest in Oversdam

a little too much chest - might want to alter a couple of them.


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PB&Jenny
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I can only agree with what's been said already. My only suggestion would be to fill in the first sentence with your MC's interest in the man.

quote:
The man was an easy scrawl.
could be turned into
quote:
My victim was an easy scrawl.
or whatever your intention will be with this man.

Just my two cents.

PB


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thomaskcarpenter
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Interesting voice, but I couldn't quite picture some of the scenes you were trying to describe. The "ratter gentleman" description didn't quite give me a picture in my head, even after rereading a few times. Hope that helps.
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LDWriter2
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quote:

****************

The man was an easy scrawl. I found him in the crowds on the streets of Oversdam, the rain slapping the broken asphalt and passerby alike. He was one of those old ratter gentlemen, with the soggy brown hat and the gloves broken right where the cuff ends and so your arm drips with the wet right down to your chest—and his chest was bare, coat open and all. Kind of a cold fall for a bare chest in Oversdam, but the man seemed to hurry too much to care. I followed him. It's not much difficult to follow a man down these streets, especially when he's moving against traffic.

I got closer and saw that he must've been going for days like this, 'cause his shoes were flip-flapping on the ground all ragged-like and his hair was sloppy too. If it weren't so wet


First of all it seems a little short for 13 lines but if your Word processor says it is, it probably is.

I'm not sure what you mean by scrawl. Unless I got my spellings mixed up, a scrawl is an expression on a face. Do you mean it was easy to see his scrawl?

And his description is a very long sentence. I think breaking it up would be good even though it's a good description. A hint of why your MC was following him would be good too, I think.

That's about all I have. Basically it's not so bad.


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Corky
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A scowl is an expression in the face. A scrawl is sloppy handwriting, I thought.

In the context, it sounds like the point-of-view character is either planning to scribble ("scrawl") a drawing of the guy, or "scrawl" is some kind of slang for any number of things: an easy mark (someone to steal from)?, an easy person to follow?, an easy victim of some other type (someone to mug)?, and so on.

The lack of clarity here makes the point-of-view character's motivation hard to care about, and thereby tends to neutralize any hook the writing and the description of the "easy scrawl" may have generated. For me, at least.


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PB&Jenny
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Unless I'm totally off the mark, I thought this,
quote:
The man was an easy scrawl.
meant that this man was an easy mark, or victim.

Is that what you meant to say, s_merrell?


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WouldBe
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Even Lord Google had little to say about 'easy scrawl'. I liked the phrase and took it to refer to his appearance and gait...lanky and irregular.
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philocinemas
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I like the style and voice, but I feel the opening is meandering some. You may consider throwing in the purpose of following him to better establish the hook (presuming the reason is interesting/hooky). I also agree that the "chest" part is a little overdone.

I interpreted the use of "easy scrawl" and "ratter" as examples of inventive slang, like Burgess did in A Clockwork Orange. This can often be used to establish sense of believability or depth to a fictional world. Somewhat more recent examples of this can be found in Battlestar Galactica and Farscape.

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited October 06, 2010).]


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LDWriter2
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quote:

A scowl is an expression in the face. A scrawl is sloppy handwriting, I thought.
In the context, it sounds like the point-of-view character is either planning to scribble ("scrawl") a drawing of the guy, or "scrawl" is some kind of slang for any number of things: an easy mark (someone to steal from)?, an easy person to follow?, an easy victim of some other type (someone to mug)?, and so on.

The lack of clarity here makes the point-of-view character's motivation hard to care about, and thereby tends to neutralize any hook the writing and the description of the "easy scrawl" may have generated. For me, at least.


Okay, I was mispronouncing it to myself. But I am still not sure what it means here. It could be slang in this universe, which would be okay, even though I'm not sure of opening a story with local slang is a good idea. It could depend on the editor.


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aspirit
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I figured "scrawl" and "ratter gentlemen" were Victorian slang for "mark" and "beggar".

Merrell, are you going to tell us whether or not these are opening lines?


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