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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Wild Baby (working title) - genre?

   
Author Topic: The Wild Baby (working title) - genre?
Ethereon
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Every night the wild baby smiled demurely when Mom and Dad put her to bed. She stretched her tiny mouth in an exaggerated yawn, and pretended not to understand when they said, "She’s so tired. All that work sitting up by herself."

Alone in her crib she contemplated the constellations on her ceiling and listened to the noises of the household winding down.Swishety swishety. Dad brushed his teeth.Rustle, clang clang. Mom put the dogs to bed in their kennels.

Finally, the wild baby heard the lamp click off in Mom and Dad's room. She counted to three hundred, then stood up and deftly swung over the side of the crib. She landed in a crouch on the balls of her feet and stopped to listen. Mom was already snoring. The wild baby tiptoed out the door.

This is mostly just for fun, to read to my daughter when she's a bit older, but I'm curious, does it hook you as an adult? Would you condider reading on or sharing it with an older child?


[This message has been edited by Ethereon (edited January 13, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by Ethereon (edited January 13, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 13, 2011).]


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Grayson Morris
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I love it.

My only niggle is with "Mom" and "Dad." At first, I thought perhaps the narrator was a brother or sister to the wild baby. Then it became clear the narrator is outside the story, and I supposed it was, to the wild baby, just like calling one's alien abductors Xjarflk and Rugtdswf: simply the appellations by which those two creatures are known. I like that; I like that a lot--the idea of "Mom" and "Dad" being no more than an emotionless collection of sounds to the wild baby.

Only, those two words are so infused with meaning to me that I keep forgetting to hear them the way the wild baby hears them, and it keeps pulling me out of the story.

Possibly I'd get over it as I read on, and let me repeat that I LOVE the juxtaposition of those two meaning-endowed words with the meaninglessness they hold for the wild baby. So I'm very reluctant to suggest you change them...but I wanted to mention it.


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Osiris
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I like it too, I'm mostly hooked to find out why this baby is so smart and capable (Certainly every baby is special to their parents )

I think something more child-like would be appropriate for the parents tags, like "mama" and "papa" or "da-da" because this is what the parents would probably teach the child to call them. With my son, we taught him to call mom 'mama' and dad (thats me!) 'papa'.

The niggle I did have, and it may actually not be a niggle, is the use of adjectives like demurely... just because I'm not sure a baby is going to be socialized enough to express demureness. But this baby is already unusual and if that is at the crux of this story, than itmay be a non-issue.


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KayTi
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Cute, but I'm a mom with two wild babies of my own so I think it appeals specifically to me.

To address @Grayson's point - you might think about whether "The Mom" or "The Dad" would work as titles for the parents, as it would lend more of that "otherness" that you seem to be striving for, where the baby sees herself as outside the family, playing a role when necessary but then at night coming into her own.


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philocinemas
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I found it intriguing and would read on.

I had three nitpicks. First was the parents names - I also think they should be more child-like. Second, I questioned whether the noises would be that easily discernible and if the action tags were necessary. Third and finally, your first paragraph utilized the child's viewpoint, even though it was 3rd person, but it ends with the parent's dialogue. Structurally, this is problematic. I would suggest having the parent's dialogue in a separate paragraph.


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Reziac
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I like the title. It's very odd, thus caught my eye.

The baby is very odd too. Quite a lot of mystery in those few lines. I think you got the tone right -- it all sounds so NORMAL, until the lights go out.....

So far, I think it's as much an adult's read as a child's tale. My first impression is that the wild baby is possibly a bit evil, as she's certainly well-versed in deliberate deception.

I think Mom and Dad are okay to use -- they're like "said", generic enough not to draw attention to the words. "Mama" brings a nuance of affection, which may not fit.

Anyway, a good start.


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KayTi
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Ah, another idea for you if you're up for it is to check out the newish picture book called The Boss Baby (or maybe just Boss Baby.) I don't recall the author, but it's a very funny baby-POV story about the baby being CEO of his pint-sized empire. Very amusing.
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Ethereon
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Thanks for your comments all.

I chose "Mom and Dad" without thinking, because although the wild baby is <6m old, her POV is more like that of an elementary school child (but with less life experience and perhaps a better vocabulary). She is supposed to be highly unusual, so I'm glad that came through.

I wasn't deliberatley trying to paint the parents as abstractions, just demonstrate that the baby was able to interpret the sounds she heard, so it's interesting that most of you read it that way. I'll have to ponder that one too.

@KayTi: I'll have to find that "Boss Baby" book. It's sounds like a fun one.

I'm just about finished the draft, 1400 words currently. Anyone interested in reading once I'm done? I'd be willing to swap something of a similar length if you're not in a hurry.


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cborgia
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I enjoyed this, but it brought back frightening memories:
She played the wild baby for many a day
The hair of her parents is turning quite gray
She stayed up last night til a quarter to four
I wish that she'd play the wild baby no more

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dezmai
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I absolutely love the wild baby (both the character as it comes across in this excerpt and the title). I would love to see what she does after her parents are asleep. The introductory section definitely works well, as it's quite intriguing and makes me want to read more.
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bobbyshane
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I think this is really interesting. Definitely would be interested in reading further. I think the "Mom" and "Dad" tags are fine because it seems possible from what's shown that the baby might be of a high enough intelligence to have picked this up. But at the same time using some term of detachment for them might bring out the concept of the baby's intelligence more. But that comment is based on assumption. So, take it as you will.

[This message has been edited by bobbyshane (edited January 29, 2011).]


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Matt.Simpson01
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It is an interesting beginning to be sure. It brings to mind the character of Alia in the Dune saga, who was born a Reverend Mother, and had all of the past memories. I would have to read more of the story to really have something to say about it.

As far as just using mom and dad for the parents, when your kids were that little, how often were you saying mommy and daddy to them? I know with my three, it was all the time, and the youngest is just 11 months old now. The girl might know their names, but like most kids, just says mom and dad.


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Ethereon
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@Matt: lol. The wild baby may be as adept as Alia of the Knife, but her story is not nearly so serious! It's quite silly/tongue-in-cheek, or at least that's what I'm aiming for.

I'm attempting two different drafts of this. One is at a higher reading level and contains references that young children would deffinitely not 'get'. The other has simpler vocabulary, shorter sentances etc.

When finished, I'd love to get a few people's opinion on which draft has more potential to be an engaging story (especially people who read to kids). Both will be short (<2k). If anyone's interested let me know. I'd be happy to do a swap.


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Matt.Simpson01
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Eth, I realize that the story is a jocular one, but I just made the connection without thinking about it. I have a tendency to do that. Other than that immediate connection I made, like i previously said, the story is very intriguing, and I wouldn't mind reading it when it is done.
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dezmai
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I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old - I'd be willing to test drive it on them if you like once it's done.
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Reziac
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Ah, the bilevel... remember Bullwinkle? Fun for kids at a kid's level, yet full of high-level jokes for adults.


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Ethereon
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Yeah Reziac, I'd love to write something with that 'bilevel' quality, but I imagine it's harder than it looks.And what can/can't you include in a bilevel story? I'm not talking about overt language or volience (no-brainer there), but more subtle things, like, let's say a teenager smoking a cigarette. Would that be a taboo?

Thanks demzai and Mat. When I finish up I'll let you know.

[This message has been edited by Ethereon (edited January 30, 2011).]


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