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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Keys to Happiness, Revised

   
Author Topic: Keys to Happiness, Revised
pidream
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Looking to swap stories with any one interested.

I swung, grazing the old man’s chin. He staggered back, bandanna slipping from his fingers and fluttering to the ground. I swung again, landing a glancing blow to his temple.

“Where is my son,” I screamed, grabbing him by the collar.

“I told you, he’s safe— wait,” he said reaching into his pocket.

I shoved him backward into the wall and heard a muffled wet walnut cracking sound. His eyes opened wide. I let go. He tittered. I stepped aside. He fell forward hitting the ground with a thwack and a jingle. He didn't scream or moan, just let out a long ragged breath and lay still. Not good— not good at all. My knees buckled, and I dropped to the ground. This was not how the day was supposed to end.

[ November 27, 2013, 06:13 AM: Message edited by: pidream ]

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babooher
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Growing up I had nightmares of spiders, murderers, beasts, aliens, etc and now I enjoy those dreams. I can control them. The few nightmares I have are all centered around one thing, the loss of my children. I can tell you that as a father, if someone was keeping the location of my child from me, I wouldn't be slapping anyone. I'd be pummeling that person, thrashing him, breaking him. I'd only be upset about killing someone because then I can't get answers. I'm not getting that sense of determined fury from the narrator and it feels weak. The second half where he cracks the man's head like a walnut, that felt like a more authentic level of violence. Maybe I need therapy.

In any event...I've got a story if you want to swap, or if you just want to send this, I'll look.

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Denevius
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I think you have the right idea starting with the action, and we see what your narrator wants: their son.

I just think that this scene is too cinematic. The slap, the grabbing him by the shoulders, the question itself.

I think babooher has a good point. The scene verges on melodramatic without being realistic. I know nothing about this situation, but if someone has kidnapped your son or daughter, I would think that the confrontation would go differently.

First, why is this person confronting them and not the police? And secondly, if you're badass enough to take this situation on yourself, would this be the way you do it? Where are they? What's going on in the background? If he hit pavement, then they're outside. Who's witnessing this?

Like I said, starting in action is a good idea, but I think this scene raises too many questions, but not in a good way.

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wetwilly
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I disagree with Denevius. I'm not digging the mid-action start, here. I don't have any idea what has happened, how the characters got here, so I don't have any emotional reaction to a scene that seems like it probably requires a high level of emotional involvement. This scene, to me, feels more like a middle, or even an ending.

Of course, that might all change if I read the rest of your story. I'm making a ton of assumptions based on the 1st 13. The dramatic situation is interesting and I would keep reading to see where it goes/came from.

I'm happy to trade whole story crits with you. I've got an 8,000 word sf story if you're interested. But only if you're actually going to read mine. The last person I traded with waited for me to send them my feedback about their story but then never gave me any feedback on mine.

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pidream
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Great comments all and I am happy to swap. Will send you copies this weekend. Look forward to reading yours.
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wetwilly
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Send it over and I'll send you mine.
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wetwilly
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Waiting for your story, pidream. Will gladly read it for you.
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pidream
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I have not forgot. I am re-writing the opening because of the comments (thanks), and a few other parts so it knits together well.
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pidream
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Hey Wetwilly, I sent it on and waiting for yours. Thanks
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wetwilly
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I've been looking for your story and didn't see it come in. I just looked and found that your emails have been going to my junk folder. Sorry. E-mailing you now.
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babooher
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pidream, I had the same problem. In fact, I went searching in my junkmail because of wetwily's post here. Give me 24 hours and I'll have it read.
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