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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First 13 - The Naming

   
Author Topic: First 13 - The Naming
Lloyd Tackitt
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Collecting sticks for the fire, the old man gathered his thoughts for the storytelling. He would have an audience of four, his most important audience ever. His grandchildren.

This was the most vital story he would ever tell. This story had been waiting for over fifty years to be told. He had to wait until he had grandchildren, and then for the youngest to be old enough to understand the story. It had been a long time waiting in his mind. This story would either hook the grandchildren for the rest of the stories, or it wouldn't, and that would be dismal.

The children would arrive in a few hours. This story must be told over a camp fire, no other setting would work.


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Short story, would like to know if this intrigues?

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History
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Well, I am interested in what this "story" is, particularly as it has not been told for 50 years and that it will be the first of many.

I am also assuming that since there is no mention of the children's parents (and, since he's waited 50 years to speak), their parents are dead or gone.

I'm not a fan of being in the protagonist's POV and referring to him with narrator's distance. Thus I'd suggest substituting the character's actual name (e.g Joseph or Eustice ...) instead of "the old man" and show me his age: e.g. his thin fingers, swollen at the joints with arthritis were as dry and brittle as the sticks he collected for the fire.

The last sentence of the first paragraph should perhaps end with "...ever: his grandchildren." Even so, the sentence may a bit long to convey its thought.

The sentence "It had been a long time waiting in his mind" may be redundent with the repetition of "wait/waiting." Perhaps omit this.

Similarly the repetiton of "tell/telling" in the first two sentences of the second paragraph. I would suggest omitting the first ("This was the most vital story he would ever tell").

I would read on. I just see room for tightening of the sentences.

Just my two shekels.

Respectfully,
Dr. bob

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Crank
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I agree woth Dr. Bob...tighten the sentences (second paragraph in particular), and you'll have yourself a good, sharp opening.

It seems to me that the sentence:

quote:
This story must be told over a camp fire, no other setting would work.
...is in the wrong paragraph. The second paragraph is where you're setting up the 'conditions' and/or the 'rules' by which your MC will tell the story. The third paragraph has more of a personal tone, but the sentence above (which reads as another 'conditions' and/or 'rules' sentence) derailed the flow for me.

Other than that, the telling of ancient stories in mystic settings is a cool scenario for me, so I would keep reading. That means you need to keep writing. [Big Grin]

S!

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babooher
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While I'm intrigued by the concept, I wonder if you're starting in the right spot. The suggestions to tighten the sentences might help with this, but with your current pacing I feel like we're too far away from where this should start (which I could be wrong about sinec I only know the first 13). If this is a story-within-a-story type structure where the real conflict will come out of the old man's tale, then I can see where this might be close to the right spot, but even then I'd move it on up a little. Currently, the old guy still has to get that fire burning and the kids still need to show up and settle down. Now, all of this suggestion is predicated on the idea that the old man's tale is the emphasis of this story. This story could be taking a Simpsonian turn for all I know.
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annepin
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I'd read on, but only just. The suspense of wondering what the story is e and why it's so important is enough to get me to turn the page, but I would be looking for more complexity in the next few paragraphs.

Dr. Bob has some good suggestions. I get the old man's urgency, but there's a lot of telling--we're told this is the most vital story he's ever told. I'd rather that be revealed through thought and characterization. Also. there's a lot of suspense on the pending on the story, that it's so important, and that it's got to be told in the right setting.

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Merlion-Emrys
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The mystery around the story and the reason for its many requirements is plenty to catch my interest. That said I too have some slight wording suggestions.
In the second sentence of the second line, I'd suggest changing "This" to "It." Likewise on the second sentence of the last line, I'd change "This" to "The." I say this because you have quite a few "This's" and because they don't, for me, seem to flow well even aside from the repetition.

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