I would appreciate your input on the following story. Any volunteers beta readers are welcome as well.
###Start first 13 I'm about to die, Ray, and to be honest; I know exactly how I got here. The morning after the full moon back in June was a typical Texas scorcher. Skye sauntered into the shop wearing a frilly white top and denim daisy dukes; I guess you could say she caught my attention. Around her neck, she wore a detailed white-gold image of a four-headed wolf with tiny rubies for eyes. “What have you got there?” I asked her. Skye stroked the figurine and smiled. “Esa-Rosa.” “Is that some kind of Spanish name or something?” Tan as she was, I thought she might be Hispanic. “You're not the first to make that mistake,” she laughed. “It’s #### End first 13
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited August 10, 2011).]
I think the opening could use a bit of elaborating on her imminent death. 154,889 (avg.) people die every day, what makes this one worth my time? Yes, I realise this is fiction, and yes, I realise what I said was just terrible. I like the opening couple of lines, i feel like you've got the line attached to your fishing rod with that, but give me a little teaser as a hook. The rest of the opening, I'm sure, has significance to her death, but it is too subtle for me to be able to draw any lines. Though it is still interesting, don't get me wrong. It's got a bit of folk-lore reference which I always love. I think the opening line just needs a bit of a punch to hit it home. Posts: 30 | Registered: Dec 2010
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#1 There is no transition from line one to line two and it felt jarring.
#2 It seems a bit blunt. In Sci-fi this would be a "As you know..." moment that reeks of an info-mugging. The part where she almost forgot why she came in felt really fake after the big etymology lesson. I don't know your protagonist all that much, but if I needed to get that etymology lesson in, I'd try to be more subtle. Maybe he gets caught checking her out, she says something, he's embarrassed and tries to cover by saying he was only checking out the necklace. Complete BS, but it wouldn't be so heavy handed. That way he has a reason to ask more about it (other than you need to explain it to the reader).
#3 It feels like he doesn't know her but yet he knows her name. This disconnect (at least for me) comes from the line where he thinks she might be Hispanic. I understand that Hispanics run the gamut of skin colors. I understand you might know someone without knowing her ethnicity (I once knew a biracial girl in school that most people would think was black/white mixed but was actually Hispanic/white mixed). It happens, I concede that, but it feels odd here.
I'm about to die, Ray, and to be honest; I know exactly how I got here. 1.To me this is a bit abrupt. He is telling his deathbed story to Ray, right? Maybe some kind of lead-in including Ray to set the scene up.
The morning after the full moon back in June was a typical Texas scorcher. 2.I think you have two separate thoughts here. As an example of how it might be presented. It was a typical June morning in Texas, a real scorcher. Last night’s full moon hung low on the western horizon.
Skye saunter into the shop wearing a frilly white top and denim daisy dukes; I guess you could say she caught my attention. 3.I had to look up daisy dukes. I hated the Dukes of Hazzard, but that doesn’t count for much. This is picky but- A good looking woman walks into my shop wearing daisy dukes and I am telling one of the guys, later. The short shorts come first in the description and the top, if I mention it at all comes second unless it was super low cut. Even then it still comes second.
Around her neck, she wore a detailed white-gold image of a four-headed wolf with tiny rubies for eyes. 4.Wordy. If it is around her neck, we know she is wearing it. I’d drop “she wore” Word choice- “detailed”? Maybe ornate or complicated. I think your robbing the description of power by starting with “white gold”. Maybe- “a four (no hyphen) headed wolf with ruby eyes set in white gold”. You lose a couple of words there that making it less wordy in the process.
“What have you got there?” I asked her. 5.I’m bad but this goes back to the daisy dukes (can’t get that picture out of my mind now). Unless I’m pointing at the necklace and concentrating my eyes would be looking much lower. For me- I would add “I asked, pointing at her necklace” because “What have you got there” could be taken anyway and since he is not specifying what he is referring too.
Skye stroked the figurine and smiled. “Esa-Rosa.” 6.How did she know he meant the necklace and not her legs? I’m bad.
“Is that some kind of Spanish name or something?” Tan as she was, I thought she might be Hispanic. 7.Sorry, this is Texas. 90% of the people in Texas speak a few words Spanish , if not a lot more. So he would know it’s sounds or is, in fact, Spanish. Esa-Rosa sounds a whole lot like Esta Rosa meaning- ‘this pink or the name Rosa’. And hearing it for the first time I would think that is what she said.
“You're not the first to make that mistake,” she laughed. “It’s 8. And maybe not the last.
I think you’re going somewhere here but need to tighten it up, as another Hatracker tells me to do with my writing. The opening is abrupt and for me needs a little more of a lead in. The scene logic needs to be addressed, the real life male attitudes overhauled for me and the tex-mex language thing (I know picky, sorry) fixed. It feels like a werewolf story and for that reason I would not read on but that is me. A few tweaks is all you need to make it flow.
This is one of the better first thirteens that I've seen on here; the only part that bugged me was when you described Skye's necklace as "detailed," but then explained what all the little details were. I think that can safely be left out. I don't mind the opening being abrupt. If you follow through on it and make the next paragraph interesting, opening up with that dramatic a statement is fair game. I want to know why this character is going to die, and why he's telling Ray (and why he is getting the chance to tell Ray, particularly given that you say this story is 2200 words long).
Posts: 500 | Registered: May 2008
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