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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Fantastical Tales of Ben Radley - Story 1

   
Author Topic: The Fantastical Tales of Ben Radley - Story 1
lorikitty
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1,190 words. This is my first short story. I generally start really long stories and never finish them [Razz] I'm using google docs for sharing if anybody wants to read the whole story and/or provide feedback <IMG SRC="http://www.hatrack.com/forums/writers/forum/smile.gif">

###Start First 13
The black-haired blue-eyed boy sat between a blonde-haired girl with green eyes and a brown-haired boy with brown eyes. They took up three of seven children, all arranged in a circle, all equally varied in appearance. The oldest of them was 12, while the youngest had barely turned 9 the day before.
"I swear it's true," the black-haired lad said, pulling a face at the kid directly across from him. "You take that back or Ben Radley will come back to haunt you and you'll never be able to sleep again without worrying you'll die in your sleep." The last words were uttered in a whisper, the promise of retribution dripping into their young ears.
"No way," the other child said, attempting to wipe the fear from his eyes. "My grampa's ghost will keep me safe from him.
### End first 13

### Start edit 1 - first 13
The black-haired blue-eyed boy sat between a tiny, shivering girl and a tall, thin boy. They took up three of seven children, all arranged in a circle, all equally varied in appearance. The oldest of them was 12, while the youngest had barely turned nine the day before.
"I swear it's true," the black-haired lad said, pulling a face at the kid directly across from him. "You take that back or Ben Radley will come back to haunt you and you'll never be able to sleep again without worrying you'll die in your sleep." The last words were uttered in a whisper, the promise of retribution dripping into their young ears.
"No way," the other child said, attempting to wipe the fear from his eyes. "My grampa's ghost will keep me safe from him.
### End Edit 1 - first 13

### Begin Edit 2 - first 13
The black-haired blue-eyed boy sat between a tiny, shivering girl and a tall, thin boy. They took up three of seven children, all arranged in a circle, all equally varied in appearance. The oldest of them was 14, while the youngest had barely turned nine the day before.

"I swear it's true," the black-haired lad said, pulling a face at the kid directly across from him. "You take that back or Ben Phelan will come back to haunt you and you'll never be able to sleep again without worrying you'll die in your sleep." The last words were uttered in a whisper, the promise of retribution dripping into their young ears.

"No way," the other child said, attempting to wipe the fear from his eyes. "My grampa's ghost will keep me safe from him.
### End edit 2 - first 13

[This message has been edited by lorikitty (edited August 12, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by lorikitty (edited August 12, 2011).]

[ November 07, 2011, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: lorikitty ]

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Merlion-Emrys
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That first line is a bit heavy on the appearance-details. You appear to want/need to highlight the differences in their appearance, but it can, I think, be accomplished a little more smoothly. I'd consider starting out talking about the circle of children and how they all vary widely in appearance and age, give some examples and maybe a hint of why that is important.

The last line is pretty intriguing, with the implication of some sort of competing ghosts type thing.


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lorikitty
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I wasn't sure how to individualize the children other than using specific descriptors. Perhaps blue-eyed girl, red-headed boy, etc would be less static and equally differential? The age-range thing is only important in that they're a bunch of kids.

This is just "story one" so it doesn't go in-depth, but the fighting ghosts thing is an angle I hadn't thought of for future stories. Nobody likes a god-moder, whether they're a scary ghost or a loving dictator :P


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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
I wasn't sure how to individualize the children other than using specific descriptors. Perhaps blue-eyed girl, red-headed boy, etc would be less static and equally differential? The age-range thing is only important in that they're a bunch of kids.


Let's see if I can come up with a good example of what I mean.

"A circle of seven children sat around the fire, talking and laughing. No one was like another; here a boy with jet-black hair and bright blue eyes, beside him a girl with deep green eyes and shining fair hair. The oldest stood at the threshold of adolescence, the youngest not far behind."

However, if it isn't important than there is no need to include it in any but a passing, background way.

Another thing occurs to me. Currently you don't seem to have a point-of-view character. Now, I don't personally have a problem with 3rd person omniscient POV, however it is rather "out of favor" just now, so you may want to consider zooming in on one character and writing from his or her perspective.


quote:
This is just "story one" so it doesn't go in-depth, but the fighting ghosts thing is an angle I hadn't thought of for future stories.

So, is this an entire short story, or a chapter of something larger?


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lorikitty
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the black-haired blue-eyed child is actually the "main character," sort-of. I edited it a bit and think the changes make it more apparent who the person of interest is. If I've changed the first 13 do I re-post in the thread or on the original post?
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Merlion-Emrys
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Typically you place the edited version in the original post a bit below the original version, for comparison purposes.
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lorikitty
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I opted to go for more emotion in the descriptions (slightly!)

also found a typo -- you're sposed to spell out numbers up to 10.


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Merlion-Emrys
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If you're going to write from his POV, you should probably give the black-and-blue boy a name, and use that instead.

Also, we might want to come in a bit earlier in the conversation. We don't know what he's asking him to take back, for example.

Also, in my experience all numbers are typically spelt in literature.

[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited August 12, 2011).]


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lorikitty
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actually, the entire story doesn't really explain what the other kid is supposed to take back. It goes into "another story," which does pertain to the take-back request, but offers only a glimpse at what the entire thing is about. From start to finish the whole story begs for more stories for full clarification. The intent was to be mysterious and fanciful with a dash of macabre.
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babooher
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First off, Ben Radley seems awfully close to Boo Radley so much that I was out of the story for a moment. Boo Radley is kinda one of the big characters in my literary experience and it just seems odd to reference him.

I think names differentiate characters very well. I'd rather have a name or two, or a simpler description than what you've given us.

I think the entire two first lines before the dialogue are kinda wordy. I just don't feel all those words pay off. No need to go all Hemingway, but I think this could be simplified. Allow the reader to fill in some blanks. He will anyway, and if you try to stop it the writing becomes heavy.


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lorikitty
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Wow, I haven't read "To Kill A Mockingbird" in over ten years .. totally forgot about Boo! Ben seems fitting for this guy so I guess I'll just look for a new last name. Maybe something spectre-y xD
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Crane
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For my money, eye-colour is a difficult trait to recognize. If someone sends me into a room to look for the kid with blue eyes, I'm probably going to fail. Unless I'm right up, intimately close to someone's face I don't even notice their eye-colour. There's usually something more distinctive about a person then their eye-colour. There are people I've known for years who if they asked me what their eye-colour was, I'd have to make a guess.

I love the "my ghost can beat up your ghost" angle, that's so adorably macabre.


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pdblake
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Surely these kids all know each other? Why not use their names and drop the descriptions in as you go?

I do like that last line though, but I'm with those above on wanting to know what the lad is supposed to take back.


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lorikitty
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I changed the story a bit and forgot to update it here. If you want to know what he should take back, you'll have to read the rest of it [Razz]
I've got it on GDocs if anybody wants to read/review it. I just your E-Mail address so I can share it.

[ November 07, 2011, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: lorikitty ]

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