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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Mayan Blood ~5457 Words Fantasy

   
Author Topic: Mayan Blood ~5457 Words Fantasy
wisealma
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This is my first post here. I think I have a fun story here (I submitted it for Q3's Writer's of the Future contest, but alas, no dice.) I think my first paragraph needs work. I'm hoping to get some feedback. I have a thick skin. I'm here to learn.

Hopefully I get this 13 sentence thing correct. I would love to trade feedback on the entire story if someone is interested (and if that is allowed).

This story is about a couple on a vacation in the Yucatan. Unfortunately for them, they are visiting during a very mysterious time. They learn the culture, but at a terrible cost.

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March's vampirous heat still drew the sweat from Ned Eaton as he tried fruitlessly to wipe it from his brow with the back of his beefy hand. He hated feeling so hot and sticky. His boots kicked through dirt and loose scrub grass, carrying tired legs behind the old Mayan tour guide and his young translator. Both wore long hair, the color of obsidian, and had skin the shade of the desert making them easy to follow amidst the pasty North American tourists.

As the majority of the group approached the rubbled stones of the next site, the old tour guide began to recite its history and significance in his native Mayan language. After a moment the translator stopped, and raised a hand respectfully. Her jade eyes searched her guests, finally settling on the lagging Ned.


Thoughts?


Thanks in advance.
Wisealma

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REVISION 1
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Ned wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his beefy hand. Unaccustomed to this level of activity, he trudged through the dirt and scrub grass anyway, pursuing his old Mayan guide and his young translator. The tour guides wore long hair, black, like obsidian, and had skin the color of desert making them easy to follow amidst the pasty North American tourists.

As the majority of the tour group approached the rubbled stones of the next site, the old tour guide stopped and began to recite the significance of its history in his native Mayan language. After some time the translator broke off, her jade eyes searching her guests, before finally settling on the lagging Ned. She waved a hand.

"Sir, please stay with the group," she said with a heavy Spanish

[ November 18, 2011, 02:19 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Dame
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Hi -

There are a couple of points that make this a bit hard to read.

The first sentence says Ned is trying to wipe the heat from his forehead.

Vampirous, fruitlessly and beefy, all together in the same (first) sentence seem quite overpowering and actually make it harder to work out the meaning.

His boots carrying tired legs is suddenly in the POV of the boots, and not in Ned's. You therefore draw the reader back out of any engagement you were building up with Ned. It can also be a pet hate of editors (apparently) when isolated body parts do things of their own accord.

Then the last sentence in the first para seems to say that the boots wore long hair.

I think you may have to pay a little more attention to the flow of meaning, so that individual sentences aid rather than weaken each other.

You could cut "Ned thought," in the last para.

I couldn't quite imagine how she was lifting her leg.

Tired of (missing word?) wife's...

He has a wife? Where is she? Is she there?

Good luck developing this. It is allowed to ask if anyone would be interested in reading. Also readers can say whether they would read on after these 13 lines, and offer to read the full MS.

I'm afraid I would not read on, mainly because of the confusing flow of meanings in the first paragraph.

I hope some of this has helped. I apologise if the response seems harsh.

Damon

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wisealma
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Great feedback, thank you. I don't consider it harsh at all.
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C@R3Y
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I also struggled when I read these first thirteen lines. Dame pointed out a few of the things I was going to say.

Where it says "Ned simply snarled wearily." I would cut both of the adverbs and keep it at "Ned snarled." Try to avoid adverbs as much as possible, unless it's absolutely necessary. Fruitlessly really doesn't need to be there. It interrupts the flow, at least for me it does.

When it says "...and tired of wife’s vacation ideas"

I agree. Where is his wife? Is she there? That is also a question I had. If you plan on keeping that sentence, include a "his" in there, right before "wife"

As it stands, it's hard to read. Maybe you should cut the first sentence in two. You have a lot of descriptive terms in the first sentence, and while that is not bad to an extent, the way you have it makes it hard to read. Maybe you could try: "It was March; the raging heat drew sweat from Ned Eaten and he wiped his forehead with the back of his beefy hand." or maybe "the raging heat of March, etc..." - it's not much of a difference. Maybe it's a poor example, but it's just a thought to get you started. Of course you don't have to use my opinion, as I am not entirely sure if the way I said it is any better or worse, but the way it starts out, I thought that "March's vampirous heat" was really awkward to me.

Good luck.

Carey x]

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wisealma
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Thanks Carey. I think you are right. The wording here is really odd. I am rewriting it now to incorporate both of your suggestions.

Again, thanks for the feedback. The story is actually good, and I knew that my biggest issue was how I started it.

Thanks!
Justin/Wisealma

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annepin
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I don’t find a lot here to keep me reading. The details and descriptions feel generic to me. Both the tour guides are faceless entities, with nothing to make them stand out as unique . Ned isn’t much better. There is precious little—if anything—of his personality. He has no details or characterization to make him stand out from the rest of the tourists except, presumably, he’s really out of shape. The setting, similarly, lacks any kind of interesting detail or unique marker. There is little to really ground us in time and space.

Perhaps most importantly, I there’s precious little hint of the story question. What is this story about? Why should I keep reading?

Ned wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his beefy [pulled me out of the story.]hand. Unaccustomed to this level of activity, he trudged through the dirt and scrub grass anyway, pursuing his old Mayan guide and his young translator. The tour guides wore long hair, black [awkward—maybe “wore their hair long], like obsidian, and had skin the color of desert [this came off really weirdly to me. Desert can be all kind of colors] making them easy to follow amidst the pasty North American tourists [but aren’t they leading? So everyone is following them, not just Ned—that they can be easily spotted doesn’t seem very relevant].

As the majority of the tour group approached the rubbled stones of the next site [awkward—maybe rubble of the next site], the old tour guide stopped and began to recite the significance of its history in his native Mayan language. After some time the translator broke off, her jade eyes searching her guests, before finally settling on the lagging Ned [I’m getting conflcting information here that makes it very hard form a mental picture. He’s behind, supposedly there are a lot of tourists milling about—how can he see this in so much detail?]. She waved a hand.

"Sir, please stay with the group," she said with a heavy Spanish [Is she from Spain? A Spanish accent is very different from a Mexican, a Guatemalan, El Salvadorean, Costa Rican, etc accent].

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wisealma
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Annepin - Thank you. You make some great comments. I am going to have to really rethink the whole beginning.

Thx again.
Justin

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