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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » First 13 lines (reboot!) - Fountain of Envy

   
Author Topic: First 13 lines (reboot!) - Fountain of Envy
DaveS
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Greetings, I've rebooted the first 13 lines based on feedback kindly provided on this forum. I would appreciate any and all opinions and guidance. Here goes...

Galen gazed at a line of warships marching from the horizon’s edge into the congested harbor of his home. His wife had foreseen this day and he cursed himself for not heeding her warnings; warnings he refused to believe, could not accept. A hundred years of peace had lulled him and the citizens of this city to sleep. Now, the hunters had discovered their refuge. With a final glance at the red-tiled roofs, gardens, and spires of his home, he turned his back and strode down the stairwell.

Alustria stood when he entered and calmly picked their son from the crib. Her eyes held no recrimination, though the golden flecks in her otherwise green eyes betrayed that her body hid what these invaders sought. She picked up a slim polished knife and hid it within the folds of her robe. A glance confirmed

[ March 15, 2012, 12:39 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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babygears81
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I think it sounds great. It definitely grabs my attention right away and I would definitely keep reading to find out what Alustria has on her body that they want. It must be pretty intense if she is willing to kill herself so they can't get it. At least that's what I'm guessing the knife business is about.

One sentence bothered me a little though. When it says "warnings he refused to believe, could not accept." I would take out the comma and put and.

Also, I'm a bit confused by the citizens being lulled to sleep. I assume they weren't really sleeping, just at peace so long maybe they weren't ready for war? That threw me off just a little though.

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babooher
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I wasn't sure if the word "marching" was appropriate for the movement of naval warships. If it was some kind of all terrain armored transport, then fine, but boats?

Otherwise, I found it intriguing.

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DaveS
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Excellent feedback and I will adjust accordingly. Much appreciated.
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TempestDash
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This is a better attempt than before, and the warships expands the scope of the conflict these two are caught in enough that I'm intrigued enough to read on.

You have some awkward phrasings here in my opinion. The "heeding her warnings; warnings he refused to believe, could not accept" is strange and out of pace with the lead in sentence. What you're trying to emulate here works better in spoken narration than prose, I'd use more traditional sentence construction as babygears alludes to.

"Her eyes held no recrimination, though the golden flecks in her otherwise green eyes betrayed that her body hid what these invaders sought." This sentence wanders enough to confuse me. The initial statement about a look of 'recrimination' is clearly metaphor, but the second half about the golden flecks in here eyes is literal and implied to be some sort of indicator of hidden secrets that has nothing to do with an accusing stare. Split these topics into separate sentences.

Otherwise this is good in my opinion.

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extrinsic
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The first paragraph sets up the situation admirably. I fell out of the story before that though. It's the second word that did me in. "Gazed." And then the rest of the sentence summarizes an emotionless visual sensation when I want to feel Galen's emotions about the warships and what they mean to him in the moment.

Gazed signals seeing but it's a static verb when it doesn't express emotional stimuli. That sentence summarizes the visual sensation of generic warships entering the generic harbor.

Visual sensations are opportunities to show character identity and situation context by reporting how a viewpoint character perceives and reacts to the stimuli. Adjectives and adverbs' job is to express commentary, in this case Galen's commentary.

Visual stimuli is literally a window into a scene, into a story. Opening with a summary of the visual scene jumps past that power to engage readers in the physical world of a narrative's reading dream participation mystique.

Visual stimuli is causal. Visions that cause emotional reaction effects. Visual stimuli is imagery. Imagery's job is to express intangibles, like emotions, through concrete visual stimuli and viewpoint character raactions to and commentary about the stimuli.

How do the warships look? Bristling with cannons? Decks crammed with sword-wielding warriors? How does sunlight play off what metal there is? Is the weather fair or foul? How does the ominous appearance of the warships contrast with the idylic sanctuary of the harbor and harbor town? How might depicting the scene of the warships' appearance show Galen's reactions changing from peaceful to alarmed? And in so doing show the persons, times, places, and situations unfolding? Thus, what is Galen's attitude toward the warhips moment by moment?

[ March 17, 2012, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Denevius
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more than anything else, i think the title "Fountain of Envy" needs work. you might want to try something a bit more innovative to capture the idea you're going for in your story. i also think that what you have here so far reads too much like a description of a movie scene instead of a beginning of a piece of fiction. you might want to try relating this exact scene from a different angle.
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DaveS
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Thanks Denevius and extrinsic. i never really thought of 'gazed' as passive, but your comment makes it seem obvious on a second read. Regarding the title - I agree, it should have changed it to tbd.
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pdblake
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I agree with most of the above. Warships don't march. You really don't need to say he gazed at them either, if it's in his POV and he can see them, then it's pretty obvious he's looking that way.

The next couple of sentences give us some backstory but then you mention hunters without really saying who they are. There's a hook of sorts there and I would likely read on just to see where it's going.

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C@R3Y
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I didn't see your last attempt, but, reading this, I must say it does hook me, especially toward the end when she picks her son up and then hides the knife in the folds of her robe. Didn't see that coming--the knife. The knife itself gives more of a sense of danger, makes me wonder what the outcome of this will be with her and the knife, because it doesn't look like it's going anywhere good. You could only wonder, and only if you read further will you be able to see the outcome.

I also agree with Denevius that "Fountain of Envy" needs a little bit of work.

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