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

   
Author Topic: First 13 - Hunters
rcmann
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This is the first 13 for the story I posted about a while back. The premise is that a modern cadre of religious based paramilitary warriors are hunting modern necromancers.

A completely revised beginning is directly below. I left the original for comparison.

Revised version:
-------------
It took 43 consecrated bullets to finish the creature.

The hunting team emerged from the forest cover with extreme caution. Steam wreathed the corpse, rising where unnatural flesh touched the snow. This one still resembled, at least slightly, the human that it had once been. Even through filter masks, the stink was sickening.

“We got lucky.” The speaker pulled his clip and ejected the spent casing, expertly snatching it in mid-air. Mundane speech, and the click of steel against steel, were almost shocking after the howling thunder of moments before.

Another member of the team grunted agreement. “Just barely powerful enough to take possession. Look.” He pointed. “Necrosis.”


-------------

Original version:

------

Schmidt had come to a decision. He was transferring to Mexico. Or maybe Brazil. Better yet, Egypt. Anywhere without snow. Two weeks ago it had been golden Indian summer. Then his sins caught up with him, and now he was knee deep in powder snow. It puffed up into his face like talc and tried to freeze the saliva in his mouth before he could swallow. The wind howled and screamed as if the wolves of hell had risen in a pack to hunt his soul. The cold sank through his insulated coveralls like he was naked. It shocked his flesh as sharply as a cattle prod, sliced through nerve and muscle, and hammered mercilessly into the marrow of his bones. Each breath burned with the fire of acid, making lungs throb and his raw throat ache. If Harrison had drunk the last of the coffee before he got back, Schmidt fully intended to commit murder.

[ June 14, 2012, 02:22 AM: Message edited by: rcmann ]

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pdblake
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I like the prose. It could do with tightening up in places but I get a good feeling of where he is and what he's feeling.

I would read on, simply because I like the style, but there is no real hook there. I get no sense of what is going on, just a man trudging through snow and wishing he wasn't.

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rcmann
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Thanks. This is where the whole 'you have to hook them in the first thirteen' cripples me sometimes. That description is intended to be a setup, and the next few paragraphs explain that he is out checking the monitoring stations that the Hunters are using to track signs of their enemy's presence.

I'm not sure to how open it, I'm really not.

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babooher
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quote:
This is where the whole 'you have to hook them in the first thirteen' cripples me sometimes. That description is intended to be a setup, and the next few paragraphs explain that he is out checking the monitoring stations that the Hunters are using to track signs of their enemy's presence.


Why not something like "Schmidt had come to a decision while out checking the hunters' monitoring stations,"? It gives a hint of what is to come.

I do wonder what he's doing outside so unprepared. If it's that cold, you cover up as much as possible, especially your mouth and nose. It sounds (to me) like his face is exposed. Just seemed a bit odd. Despite my many winters, I guess I've never been that cold where the layers did absolutely nothing. (It was always the edges of things where the snow could sneak in and burn). Not that I didn't enjoy the image, I just questioned how prepared the guy was.

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rcmann
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Actually, I have been. Not very often, true. I recall one winter when I was outside in subzero Carhardt coveralls, rated to -30 F. The wind chill was -57F. I couldn't stay outside more than fifteen minutes at at time, even with full coverage, hood, stocking cap, scarf, and insulated gloves. But that isn't very common where I live.
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babooher
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eh, I'm not Alaskan or anything, nor have I played one on TV.
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TempestDash
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I also like the imagery, but I feel like you're going a little overboard on the description of the cold. You've got 5 or 6 metaphors for how cold it is in rapid succession. Maybe you can cut back a bit and push some of the action more forward.

I also don't see what the last straw was. Clearly he's been putting up with this for a while but if we're starting the story at the point he makes his decision, then the direct cause of his choice should probably be in those first 13 as well. If it's just 'the cold' then at least show us what aspect of the cold has finally pushed him over the edge.

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rcmann
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A valid point. I need to start earlier, or tone it down. that much is clear. He's been out all day, checking stations, and he's about ready to hang it up whether he finds anything or not from sheer fatigue. I should emphasize that, and work in the cold in pieces I guess. When I wrote it I was just thinking about the last time I had to go out with a chainsaw and help clear a country road of fallen trees after an ice storm. I got carried away, apparently.

I'm not an Alaskan either. I live around the Great Lakes.

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babooher
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rcmann, I'm not too far away.

TempestDash, thank you. That was what I was feeling but couldn't express.

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C@R3Y
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I like the atmosphere you are giving us here. It's off to a good start too. I agree with Tempest Dash about toning down the metaphors on how cold it is, but not TOO much. I would hate for you to lose the feeling in this that I got. I think it's got a good... hmm... feeling to it that I can't quite place my finger on.

If you are looking for readers, I'm game. You can send it to me if you want. x]

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Denevius
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this is a suggested opening with some lines removed:

Schmidt had come to a decision. He was transferring to Mexico. Or maybe Brazil. Anywhere without snow. Two weeks ago it had been golden Indian summer. Now he was knee deep in powder snow. It puffed up into his face like talc and froze the saliva in his mouth before he could swallow. The cold shocked his flesh as sharply as a cattle prod, sliced through nerve and muscle, and hammered mercilessly into the marrow of his bones.

If Harrison had drunk the last of the coffee before he got back, Schmidt fully intended to commit murder.

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Denevius
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actually, you could probably get rid of that 'Anywhere without snow' line also.
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babygears81
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I agree with others that there are too many metaphors. Also, I notice you use passive voice in the beginning.

"Schmidt had come to a decision."

Would be more powerful if it read: Schmidt came to a decision.

Same thing with the fourth sentence. "had been" can be changed to was and it sounds better, I think.

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babooher
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Using a past participle does not make something passive. If the subject is acted upon, as opposed to acting, then that is passive. Schmidt coming to a decision is not passive and neither is Harrison drinking all the coffee. While past participles can be used with the passive voice, here they simply indicate an action already completed.
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