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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Toka Meets Julie; Working Title

   
Author Topic: Toka Meets Julie; Working Title
Crystal Stevens
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Okay, I finally found time to go back to my writing, and revamped the 1st 13 of Toka Meets Julie. I'd like to thank those who've made previous suggestions, some that I've used. I'm now in the process of giving the whole story a face lift before seeking readers.

Here's the 1st 13:

*****************************************************************

Toka let his eyes clear the pit just enough to see over a dozen delas grazing in the forest clearing. Hip high to a man with tawny coats dotted white and black, the lithe, swift herbivores made perfect bait to trap the royal hunting party.

Soil clung to sweat making it hard for Toka not to squirm. One jostle of the bush hiding the overhead platform and the herd would flee. Toka tried to squelch his anticipation, but the empathic link he shared with Splendor caused the krega to creak the saddle strapped to his back.

Toka stroked the long, lean muscles of Splendorís blue-gray neck but never looked away from the dela doe staring with flared nostrils in their direction. Tokaís emotions screamed at Splendor not to make a sound when the doe finally relaxed.

*****************************************************************

New version:

Soil clung to sweat making it hard for Toka not to squirm in the pit. Five such pits ringed the forest clearing covered with bushes woven in latticework. Each pit concealed a warrior and his saddle krega all waiting for the royal hunting party to arrive.

Too late, the empathic link Toka shared with his saddle krega let the buck absorb Tokaís anticipation. Please Splendor, donít move, but the krega did just enough to creak the saddle.

Toka raised up to peer out the peephole and view the dela herd. A dozen of the small lithe herbivores continued to graze all except a single doe staring his way with flared nostrils. Toka stroked Splendorís blue-gray neck with emotions screaming for Splendorís silence when the doe relaxed.

[ August 28, 2012, 09:45 AM: Message edited by: Crystal Stevens ]

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rabirch
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Crystal,

I know you've been wrestling with this for a while, and there's some good stuff in here. I particularly liked "Soil clung to sweat, making it hard for Toka not to squirm." It's a good, strong detail.

One thing I got from this that I hadn't before is the psychic bond between Toka and Splendor. There's a little bit of confusion in the the last sentence of the second paragraph, "the empathic link he shared with Splendor caused the krega to creak the saddle strapped to his back." I think all your 'he's and 'his's line up, but I had a moment of thinking that Toka had the saddle on. Maybe split the sentence up? For example, "Toka tried to squelch his anticipation, but his empathic link with Splendor was too strong to block it all. The krega shifted in response, creaking the saddle on his back." I'm sure there's a better way to do it, just an example as a possible way to make things a hair less muddy.

In fact, that second paragraph is so much stronger than the first, I might suggest dropping the first entirely and peppering in the details there later.

Good luck with this.

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Crystal Stevens
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Thanks very much rabirch. Yes, this beginning felt much more right than anything I've done so far. And thanks for the suggestion on the one sentence that I'll take under serious advisement.

Would you, or anyone for that matter, be interested in reading the entire piece? I feel I need someone to do that before I can go any further with it. I'm willing to trade crits if anyone has a story ready to read. Anybody?

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genevive42
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I have to admit a fair amount of confusion here. The first line makes me think he's peering up over the edge of a pit, but in the second paragraph there's the overhead platform. Overall, I just can't picture the setting.

Actually, the second paragraph utterly confounded me on the first read. And since I didn't know Splendor was his mount, on first read I thought it was some mystical element like the Force.

Then there's the dropped mention of baiting the royal hunting party. That should be the important bit but I don't know why he's baiting the party or what he hopes to accomplish as one against many.

Generally, I would like to see more clarity in both setting and motivation, with motivation being the more important element.

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Tryndakai
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I'll agree with Genevive on the overall confusion, and add to it that I think you've got too many quick sketches laid out of unfamiliar critters. Or anyway, there are two unfamiliar critters, and I've very little idea what they look like.

Actually, the problem isn't that I *don't know* what the Delas look like . . . it's more that I have no reason, yet, to care. The description of them is purely expository, and doesn't actually make sense as a detail to be included just now. It would make more sense if you *did* something with the information, thus making it relevant to the scene . . . such as having one dela bolt, or something, so Toka can admire its lithe speed; or comment on how their dappled coats help camoflauge them, so whenever one moves it draws Toka's eye . . . or something. Make the description more interactive, or else leave it for later. If just saying "herbivores" is sufficient to the plot for now, then I'm okay with that. Or if their suitability as "bait" for a hunting party is paramount, then I don't see how their coloring adds to that . . . I'd focus instead on how good they taste, or how thick and lush their coats are, if they're to be bait for royals.

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Crystal Stevens
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quote:
Originally posted by genevive42:
I have to admit a fair amount of confusion here. The first line makes me think he's peering up over the edge of a pit, but in the second paragraph there's the overhead platform. Overall, I just can't picture the setting.

Actually, the second paragraph utterly confounded me on the first read. And since I didn't know Splendor was his mount, on first read I thought it was some mystical element like the Force.

Then there's the dropped mention of baiting the royal hunting party. That should be the important bit but I don't know why he's baiting the party or what he hopes to accomplish as one against many.

Generally, I would like to see more clarity in both setting and motivation, with motivation being the more important element.

Thank you, Genevive, and I really mean that. I've alway respected your advice and can see what you're talking about.

Like I've said, time and again, my biggest problem is slowing down when I should to get the information across. Yes, the hook is ambushing the royal hunting party. That's the main point I want to get across. The other is to introduce my readers to Noramus with just enough detail that they understand what's going on. Looks like I still need at least one more rewrite [Smile] .

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Crystal Stevens
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quote:
Originally posted by Tryndakai:
I'll agree with Genevive on the overall confusion, and add to it that I think you've got too many quick sketches laid out of unfamiliar critters. Or anyway, there are two unfamiliar critters, and I've very little idea what they look like.

Actually, the problem isn't that I *don't know* what the Delas look like . . . it's more that I have no reason, yet, to care. The description of them is purely expository, and doesn't actually make sense as a detail to be included just now. It would make more sense if you *did* something with the information, thus making it relevant to the scene . . . such as having one dela bolt, or something, so Toka can admire its lithe speed; or comment on how their dappled coats help camoflauge them, so whenever one moves it draws Toka's eye . . . or something. Make the description more interactive, or else leave it for later. If just saying "herbivores" is sufficient to the plot for now, then I'm okay with that. Or if their suitability as "bait" for a hunting party is paramount, then I don't see how their coloring adds to that . . . I'd focus instead on how good they taste, or how thick and lush their coats are, if they're to be bait for royals.

Actually, you caught on well to the point I'm trying to get across in the 1st 13. And I definitely like your suggestion for introducing the delas through some form of action.

Understanding that delas are a herd animals suitable for hunting is important... and Noramians are very much connected to their kregas. They have a very close partnership that comes out through the entire story. So it's important for the reader to understand what kregas and delas are fairly quickly, though the hook is how an ambush is about to take place.

Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll definitely keep them in mind in my next rewrite.

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Tryndakai
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quote:
So it's important for the reader to understand what kregas and delas are fairly quickly, though the hook is how an ambush is about to take place.
Exactly--so focus on the hook, and let the details of the social and cultural interaction among kregas, delas, and people evolve for the reader more slowly and naturally. You can still get it out quickly, but more like within the first 3-5 pages, rather than trying to cram an entire society's structure into 13 lines. [Wink] That bit's not the hook; the hunting party is. So let us get caught up in that, and we'll be eager to find out the rest as you give it to us. [Smile]
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Crystal Stevens
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See if this is more like what you folks had in mind and let me know your thoughts. I think I'm finally on the right track with the new version I've just posted at the beginning of this thread. See what you think.
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Tryndakai
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Yes, that version has a much better flow, and paints the scene much more clearly. [Smile] And you still got all of the same information in, so congrats. [Wink]

Now you just need to do a line-edit of your latest version, because there are a few clumsy grammar moments that didn't seem to be a problem the first time around, so I'm assuming it's just the roughness of the draft showing through. Particularly, I'd like a few commas inserted. For example:

quote:
Soil clung to sweat[,] making it hard for Toka not to squirm in the pit. Five such pits ringed the forest clearing[,] covered with bushes woven in latticework. Each pit concealed a warrior and his saddle[d] krega[,] all waiting for the royal hunting party to arrive.

Too late, Toka realized the empathic link he shared with his krega let the buck absorb Tokaís anticipation. Please Splendor, donít move, but the krega did(m-dash)just enough to creak the saddle.

Toka raised up to peer out the peephole and view the dela herd. A dozen of the small[,] lithe herbivores continued to graze[,] but a single doe stared his way with flared nostrils. Toka stroked Splendorís blue-gray neck[,] his emotions screaming for Splendorís silence[, (?)] when the doe relaxed.

Not sure about that last comma--it depends on what you're trying to say. Is it a "but then, the doe relaxed," or a "be sure to be quiet once she relaxes, Splendor . . ." kind of thing?
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