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Author Topic: Untitled, WIP, Fantasy
Member # 7852

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Been a while since I posted a first 13. Not truly sure where this is going. Well, actually I am, it will be flash, probably easily under 1,000 words. Not really sure what age to make Mia though. I keep struggling with, soccer field, playground, or courtyard. I suppose once I settle on the age, the word will come. Any thoughts appreciated. Thank you.

The ball of fire danced in Mia's hand. She curled her fingers in, focusing all her energy into the flames. The sphere of crimson responded, twisting and turning with every rotation.

But so did her stomach. This wasn't right. “I...I can't do this.” She closed her eyes and winked the ball of destruction out of existence. “I won't.”

“With great power..”

“Comes great responsibility. Yeah, mom, I get it. Both a blessing and a curse. I've seen that movie too. But I still won't do it.”

She walked to the classroom's window and stared out at the soccer field. “I release the Tracer, and one of them dies. One of my friends. There's no way I can choose one.”

“You don't have to, honey. It does.”

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Jennica Dotson
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Honestly, I love it. Let me know if and when you finish, because I'd be quite interested to read the rest. I think this was a very solid opening. The fantasy aspect was obvious from the start, you jump right into the action with interesting dialogue and an obvious (and large) conflict… I'm hooked!
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Grumpy old guy
Member # 9922

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Yes, an opening hook that grabs me; except for some grammatical issues. Again, me talkin' about grammar? Yep, afraid so.

Here are the small issues that pulled me out of the moment:

First paragraph, second sentence, the word in. Not needed, fingers don't usually curl outward. Next, the word into. Don't you mean in? I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Second paragraph, third sentence. The ellipses usually indicate an omission, not a pause. For such a pause in speech or thought you should consider and em-dash (--).

Third paragraph. Ellipses have three dots. Formatting may vary depending on style. For some, . . . is correct, for others, ... . However, other punctuation rules also apply to the use of ellipses, including commas, question and exclamation marks, and full stops.

Apart from those niggles, I think it reads well.


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Member # 9682

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To me, it feels familiar. The image of a ball of fire hovering over an open palm has been done over and over again, from D&D to comics to film and television.

I think every writer should take a course in narrative deconstruction. I think you would benefit from that. Like, just try and souse out this opening to a more original description. A common image is a ball of fire hovering. But maybe start closer to the beginning, with sparks, or smoldering.

Where is the magic originating from? If it's a tracer, maybe from the eyes. What in the air is actually ignited? I'm not a science guy, but I think oxygen is flammable.

Maybe the character taking a deep inhale of air where it undergoes a chemical change inside of her, then a slow exhale accompanied by the rapid blinking of eyes to create an explosion of fire that immediately seeks out the target she's staring at. With great power may come great responsibility, but with a highly unstable extremely explosive power comes an intriguing narrative complication. Her mom, trying to teach her to control the magic and suddenly losing a hand because of a slip of the eye of her daughter definitely creates stakes.

Of course it doesn't have to be this, but again, a ball of fire floating over an open palm is extremely familiar.

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Member # 7852

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Thanks, Jennica. Appreciate your comments. I will take you up on that offer once I am finished. Hoping towards the weekend.

Thanks, Grumpy, 100% right on your grammar I believe. Its funny I struggled with "in" and "into", I think I might be able to live with losing the "in" regarding the curl of the fingers, but was never quite happy with the "into" the flames. Thanks again.

Thanks, Denevious. The fire in the hand was supposed to be ordinary, and easily recognizable as such. That's why I don't go into its creation much at all. It would put too much focus on the mundane. Its ordinary and easy to do. That's also why I had her wink it out of existence. I was really going for the death in the palm of your hand thing coming so easily and with someone so young. Although, I then backtracked a little by removing "playground" for "soccer field" because having someone so young "playground young" with ability to kill, scared me to be honest. Although I think I will go back that route when all is said and done.

Great thoughts on the creation process though.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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Steve 46th
Member # 10113

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I find the "soccer field" vs "playground" debate curious, especially since the aspect of this opening that got my attention is that you have someone so young with that kind of power being mentored by a woman who has become disconnected with any moral accountability for the use of magick (based on her quote: "*It* does")...that's a dangerous combination! I might like to read this story when it's done. So, from that perspective, I would cast a vote for you to further explore the "young" / "innocent" route with your MC by returning to the use of "playground"; yeah, it might lead to a more agonizing experience for the reader, and perhaps for yourself, but I will say it again that this particular example of agony is what got me interested in the story in the first place.

I look forward to seeing this story down the line.


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Bent Tree
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I would give it a go. It kinda has a YA feel. I am not sure if that is what you are going for but it is only mild. Reminds of an after school special in a way, with the dialogue.
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Member # 7852

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Thanks Steve 46th, I agree more powerful with playground reference. 1st draft is going that way.
Thanks, Bent Tree. You have hit on a one of my major concerns with after school special. Good to see you back.

General update: After a long week at work, the ending finally clicked for me(of course last night after I went to bed). I really only have the bridge between the beginning and end that hasn't completely clicked for me. I am so used to writing sword and sorcery, or heroic fantasy, I am worried about the bridge being a little preachy and info dumpy. Hoping for completion tonight. I will let you all know.

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Member # 10397

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No need for me to repeat any of the great comments above. My 'bump in the road' is concerning the cliche sounding bit of dialogue in Mia's response. ('I've Seen That Movie Too' is an Elton John song)

I really like the kicker at the end -

“You don't have to, honey. It does.”

I would continue reading just to see this resolved.

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