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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Guest

   
Author Topic: The Guest
pidream
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Greeting this is my first post here and I would appreciate any feedback I can get.

There is something wrong about the approaching rider. It's not anything I can see, but rather what I feel from him; something fragile like a long abandoned barn, creaking and swaying with each gust of wind. Heís all snarled up inside. His horse labors up the steep rocky slope losing its footing and snorting in frustration. The rider digs his rust-colored spurs deep into its flanks, and the beast lurches forward. I feel the man's delight with each gasp and spasm of pain from his struggling mount.
I watch this through the eyes of a field mouse Iíve been playing in all afternoon. As the stranger passes my hiding place in the brush, his eyes wander from the road ahead and for the briefest of moments seem to lock on mine. Did he see me? In that instant, my attention wanders and my grip on the creatures

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited June 28, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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Hmmm, interesting beginning. You give something about the situation and maybe a hint of the problem.

But it's not quite right. Part of it might be no contractions. Try "There's something wrong" Or shorten that whole section and start with "The approaching rider felt wrong". Or "I felt something wrong about the approaching rider".

Not sure if you need the "He is all snarled up inside" . I can see why you want it but it's kinda redundant with the previous sentence.

I said no contractions but there might be one. On my screen it reads live but it could be I've. Sometimes the formatting changes things around here. I've makes more sense with "been playing in" .

And try for a brief moment instead of the briefest of moments.

I'm sure other hatrackers will suggest other changes, or explain things better but I think basically it is good. It just needs some tweaking.


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NoTimeToThink
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I like the way this starts, and the idea you're putting across. I agree that it could be tightened up a little.
quote:
There is something wrong about the approaching rider. It's not anything I can see, but rather what I feel from him;
could be
quote:
I sense something wrong about the rider;
You have a strange rider, possibly threatening (I like the pleasure he gets from the horse's pain), and a POV character who can posess rodents. I would read on to see where it's all going.

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


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pidream
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Yes, I see what you both mean. I've always had a problem with contractions, meaning when to use them and when to not. I will try and apply your feedback.

Many thanks


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Tryndakai
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Ooh, I am intrigued.

Though I was only mildly interested until the line about the field mouse, at which point I perked right up. So shortening and simplifying some of those earlier sentences as the previous commentors have mentioned would definitely be beneficial. Also, starting with "I felt" or some such plunges us *immediately* into the MC's mind, moreso than the current configuration. I also want to see more from the MC than just an analysis of what's going down--I get frustration from the horse, sadism from the rider . . . but nothing from the MC him/herself. Including, come to think of it, gender. :P So there're some things to consider.

But I do just love the way you've eased the reader into your world, just slipping in the fact that you've been "playing in" a field mouse all afternoon . . . Nicely done. Made me smile.


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pidream
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I took all the offerd suggestions and tightened up the first paragraph and then went through the entire story looking at the contractions and fixed them. Thanks
Anyone know where a story set in the 1850's Spanish-California might sell?

Thereís something wrong with the approaching rider. It's not anything I see, but feel; something fragile like a long abandoned barn, creaking and swaying dangerously with each gust of wind. Heís all snarled up inside. His horse labors up the steep rocky slope losing its footing and snorting in frustration. The rider digs his rust-colored spurs deep into its flanks, and the beast lurches forward. I feel the man's delight with each gasp and spasm of pain from his struggling mount.
I watch wearily through the eyes of a field mouse Iíve been playing in all afternoon. As the stranger passes my hiding place in the brush, his eyes wander from the road ahead and for the briefest of moments seem to lock on mine. Did he see me? In that instant, my attention wanders and my grip on the creatures mind loosens.


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LDWriter2
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Okay, I think the quality is about the same. Which by the way I didn't think as bad.

The second sentence is too long. The one about the horse seems almost out of place... like it needs a paragraph or some connecter to the previous sentence. And even though not bad I feel that it could be done better but I'm not sure how.


Oh, you have a couple -ly words which supposedly editors don't like.

And to where it might sell. It sounds like a form of Fantasy, could be SF if they use mental powers, so I would say send it wherever that normally takes the type of story it is. I've read stories set in historical time periods and locations. I think Asimov had an on going series of stories set in Ancient Rome. But that would be SF.

There are markets that take every form of fantasy, if it is that.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited July 03, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited July 03, 2011).]


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tchernabyelo
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"Anyone know where a story set in the 1850's Spanish-California might sell?"

If it's fantasy, all sorts of places. Genre usually trumps setting.

But by the 1850s, California is part of the USA (unless you are referring to Baja California - and given the field mouse, I doubt you are).


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InarticulateBabbler
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I liked it. I'd read on. Great hook, nice bit of genre revelation AND tension. Great job!
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InarticulateBabbler
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I read the first version. After I posted is when I saw the second.

The second is tighter, but, I'm not opposed to contradiction. A little juxtaposition goes a long way.

Tchern is dead-on about the marketplace. Genre is what you're selling, not time period.

I'd say go to Duotrope or Ralan, and search out the markets you'd like to sell to. As long as it's an all ages story, I wouldn't leave out WotF.


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pidream
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I want to thank everyone who commented. I am about to send it out. Again thanks.
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