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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Granny C.

   
Author Topic: Granny C.
Eliza C
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Hi all - this is my first submission here. Trying to get a fantasy story out the door pretty quickly for a submission deadline and looking for feedback on the beginning only at this point. The theme is non-traditional warriors.

The wind gusted up the slope of the mountain, rattling the pine cones in the trees and shaking the thick forest of blue-green branches until they whispered and moaned. It traveled higher, and gained strength as it rose, chasing small animals into their hiding places to tremble until it had passed. This was no fickle spring gust, nor even winter gale; it was a wind that carried the smell of fangs and decay and misery. Up it went, and up, until finally it reached the destination it sought.
#
Granny C. woke from a nightmare. Her old heart pounded in her chest and her thin hand clutched her covers in a grip that hurt the twisted and swollen knuckles -- though, once awake, she couldn’t say what she had been dreaming. She listened to the


NOTE FROM KATHLEEN:

Please read this topic to see how we count the 13 lines.

[ April 23, 2012, 05:23 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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babooher
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I'd cut everything before the #. Not that it is bad writing, but I don't see a need for it. You might try keeping "it was a wind that carried the smell of fangs and decay and misery" but I'd put just before you wrote that she "knew that wind," or maybe just after.

As for everything after the #, you might be accused of a waking up opening. Easiest way to avoid that accusation, is to have the wind come while Granny C is doing something: weeding, cooking, cutting the head off a chicken, whatever.

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D2
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Definitely agreed on the waking up -- Granny's nightmare doesn't feel necessary here. It seems like it starts the scene but doesn't contribute -- she could just as well be doing anything else and have that reaction to the wind's coming. Picking a more interesting action might serve you well here.

Other than that general feeling, the rest of what doesn't jive with me are nitpicks -- the word "enemy" is used twice in pretty close succession, for example, which tripped me up. Maybe be more specific about what her enemy is in your noun choice or, if you're holding off on specifics, pick something like "nemesis" or "foe"?

"She listened to the wind ..." is a fairly long, sort of awkward sentence. I think it's the "as it"s that are doing it for me -- "... as it hammered ... as it tugged ... and as it poked". Could you maybe truncate that a little, like ...

"She listened to the wind hammering at her rough plank door, tugging at the root cellar cover, poking and prodding at her windows in search of a way in." Maybe it's just me, but a list like that feels like it flows better.

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Eliza C
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Not sure how many people might respond, so I'll jump in here and say thanks to D2 and babooher for the comments. Much appreciated.
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Utahute72
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I don't know if I'd cut the wind part, since that is the enemy, I presume from reading it, but I would suggest weaving the two pieces together into one. I get the sense the wind is what wakes her, if so tell us. Make it more active, put the threat right there. Secondly you are missing some chances for building on the scene, for example old is OK, but I assume since she is Granny she is old. What about ancient, ... her ancient heart, now she's really old.

As far as the sleeping part, here I don't see an issue. Evil often comes in the night and wakes us up.

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Eliza C
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Kathleen - sorry you had to correct my submission. I'll go through the rules more thoroughly before I submit next time. Is there an average word count I can shoot for to make sure I'm getting this right? I assume I need to single space my submission with no extra lines between paragraphs to get the proper fit in the text box, correct?

Utahute72 - thank you for you thoughts!

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JackValentine
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Your beginning is good. )By the way, props on proper semi-colon usage). It sets a hook and instantly grabs the readers attention. Your description is good as well. It uses imagery rather than stating it like facts. I'm curious as to what is going to compel your main character forward. What is Granny C.'s goal? I know you said your only looking for feedback on this initial part but I would love to read more of this if you would let me. Anyway, like said, its a good beginning.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliza C:
Kathleen - sorry you had to correct my submission. I'll go through the rules more thoroughly before I submit next time. Is there an average word count I can shoot for to make sure I'm getting this right? I assume I need to single space my submission with no extra lines between paragraphs to get the proper fit in the text box, correct?

I suppose it depends on how you determine word count. If you figure six characters per word (including spaces between words), and sixty-six characters per line, then you have about 11 words per line, and about 143 words. But not all words are five characters long, so that number can really mess you up.

I don't count the lines between paragraphs when I count the 13 lines. So put the text in the textarea (reply box), and count 13 lines of actual text. If you're off a few words or even one line from how I count, I'll probably let it go, because I can see that you're trying. If you're off more than that, I'll cut it to what I see as 13 lines (and because I apply that to everyone who doesn't appear to be trying, I figure that's as fair as I can be).

I hope this helps.

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Eliza C
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Oh - I get it now. I counted 13 SENTENCES, not 13 LINES. Duh. Thanks for the response Kathleen.

Jack - thank you for your feedback and for your offer to read more. I have an upcoming deadline and some other folks already weighing in on the full story, but I think one of my falling down points is my beginnings, so I appreciate the specific input on that here.

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stutson
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The tension was building in the nightmare until the last phrase, "it reached the destination it sought." That left me cold. Seems like it should be more personal, close, threatening to self -- not some abstract 'other destination'. Maybe it found an old lady in a lonely hut, that Granny feels a momentary kinship with when she becomes conscious.
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Eliza C
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Thanks for all the comments on this. The beginning has been revised and the story made it into submission before the deadline!
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