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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Sleeper (dark fantasy)

   
Author Topic: The Sleeper (dark fantasy)
A Yeatts
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First 13 from a short story I'm working on. I'm almost finished polishing it up and I'd love to have some feedback on the whole thing if anyone's willing. Around 7K. I'm more than happy to return the favor. So have at it... I'd love any advice you're willing to share.

Levi struggled to open his eyes, desperate to know where he was, but his eyelids were crusted and glued together, sealing him in his own personal hell. He tried to wipe his face, to rub away the foul smelling grime that coated his cracked lips and clogged his nostrils. But his arms lay unmoving at his sides like shriveled, winter twigs, alive but useless. Insects scuttled across his skin, twitching and scurrying into the warm crevices of his body. A shiver of revulsion ran down his spine. The panic he had so carefully pushed down began to well up in his chest, threatening to strangle him with his own scream if ever it got free.

He forced himself to breathe the stale air, one rotten lungful at a time. Frantic thoughts, like runaway locomotives, charged


Playing with a new opening:
Option 2


“The Lord shall not suffer a witch to live!” Levi’s voice thundered through the cabin. The girls sat in a row, heads bowed like penitents, eyes on their scuffed boots instead of their father’s contorted face. Only Mary stood defiant, hands on her hips, chin lifted, her anger palpable.

He couldn’t back down now. He should have taken a stand years ago, when they’d first married, before she’d drawn their daughters into her damned sorcery. “I won’t let you sell their souls to the devil as you have yours.”

She spit at his feet. Her spittle flecked the floorboards he’d laid down, proud his wife didn’t live on dirt floors. “Ignorant fool,” she said. “How do you plan to stop me? Would you burn me as a witch? Drown me in the pond until my life bubbles to ...

[This message has been edited by A Yeatts (edited June 28, 2011).]


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Foste
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The imagery is great, but a little bit more action would perhaps spice things up.

I want to know what happened to Levi.

I'd be more than happy to exchange crits!


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Osiris
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I agree with Foste, the imagery is good, but a bit too much. I'd like to have more happening.
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tchernabyelo
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The description is good but it's hard to get past the immediate sense that this is a "somebody waking up" opening. Waking up may feel like an obvious "moment of change" and so a good place to begin a story, but it's very heavily used and so very hard to do well (it's only a "moment of change" form the point of view of the person waking - if, for instance, they wake up in unfamliar surroundings, having been kidnapped/transported/whatever, then the real "moment of change" took place beforehand but "offscreen"(.

I can't tell, from the opening here, if this is really the right place to start this story.


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A Yeatts
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I was wondering about the same thing. I originally started with a different opening, a solid action sequence. Somehow I drifted back to this one, probably because it seemed like the obvious answer. The plot happens over two different points in time. Trying to figure out if I want to tell the story chronologically or not. Hmmmm.... lots of food for thought... exactly what I needed. Thanks!

Foste - Definitely take you up on that! Hopefully a few more days. Send one my way anytime.
~Anna


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bobbyshane
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I have to completely disagree with everybody. As an avid dark fantasy and horror reader, the first opening is a winner. I don't buy the whole waking up cliche out of this. He's suffering in some kind of situation that says nothing of waking up. And there doesn't need to be any action here. There's plenty of good suspense that negates the need for it! Action is not required for a good story starter, something intriguing is. Action is just one way to intrigue the reader. There are many others!

I would love to do a story swap, although I don't have a finished story to trade as of right now. My most recent post shows the story I'm working on right now, I would be okay with doing a swap with that one if you don't mind a partial.


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