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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Ravenous -- Urban Fantasy/Horror, ~5100 words (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Ravenous -- Urban Fantasy/Horror, ~5100 words
Grumpy old guy
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That I like!

Phil.

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Disgruntled Peony
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Woot! I think those classes on story beginnings helped. Also, spur-of-the-moment research. Research always helps, even when it doesn't get used.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Oops! Didn't actually edit the previous version. Hit the wrong button.

BTW, I like this new one a lot.

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extrinsic
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A fully realized opening scene segment! Version [edited: the improvised version is, not the sixth] six is. The fragment entails character movement as well as emotional change -- critical -- and setting development that matters, and event that doesn't untimely defuse anatagonal and causal sequencing.

Tensional sequencing artfully waits, though, in the background, curiosity at least: what is this about? The brightness and liveliness of the narrator-viewpoint agonist's emotions suggests a pendent routine interruption and the subject girl observed suggests she is the interruption. Some degree of emotional reader-narrative alignment initiates. Well begun start in most respects.

A few stylistic considerations disturb the reading experience, for me, though.

"The street plays host to no less than fifty different clubs and bars, which makes it my personal heaven."

That sentence contains several problematic expressions. "The street" is a lackluster repetition-substitution item after "Dirty Sixth." Amplification to complete a repetition, substitution, and amplification sequence and propel profluence flow is warranted. "The street" falls rather than rises for the paragraph's sequence arc.

"plays host" is a trope-like though under-realized predicate. "Play" to mean takes a role defuses potential verb dynamism, even, in this instance, present tense. A challenge of present tense, any tense, is finiteness of verb time span and immediacy. "Plays" is a mite more nonfinite than the circumstances warrant. Club hosting is a nighttime activity, for example.

"Hosts" is the verb of substance anyway, "plays" both unnecessary and perhaps signal a playful street life ambiance, though unclear of intent and strength. Further development of the playful ambiance, if intended, is warranted.

"The street plays host" is a clumsy metonymy; the street does not play or host, literally. Metonymy substitutes an attribute of a whole for the whole. For example: Washington D.C. broils of courtly political intrigues. D.C. is the place where the events take place, not the source of them: politicians. D.C. is a metonymy for the whole of politicians and their intrigues.

Figuratively, and artful metonymy, warrants clearer and stronger rhetoric. A repetition, substitution, and amplification of the "dirty" descriptor for Sixth Street would serve metonymy's function, and simpler and more finite verb dynamism. "Dirty" evokes dark, though a bar district is anything but darkly lit; each grog shop vies for attention. A contrast descriptor that evokes dark and light would serve the clarity and strength metonymy need. And plays or hosts (verb), for example, could likewise instead be of a different verb/predicate to imply contrast between hospitality and predation, of the bars, the street, and the narrator-agonist. These features pre-position and foreshadow events to come, strengthen and clarify a pendent routine interruption is about to break loose. Yeah!

"no less than" Negation statements for creative expression signal irony, litotes in particular: affirmation of the positive opposite of a negation statement. The "no" hangs the phrase between a literal and figurative interpretation that wants clarity through stronger expression.

"which" is a function word used as an adjective to connect a nonrestrictive relative noun-predicate clause to a main idea. The diction and syntax of the clause, to me, is too sophisticated where a stream-of-consciousness aesthetic is warranted. An interjectory sentence fragment of a thought-like nature closes distance, deepens into the introspective characteristic of the paragraph overall. For illustration: //. . . fifty different bars and clubs. Prey-stalk Heaven.// Again, a pre-positioned and foreshadowed item, through stream of consciousness responsive to the ample prey Dirty Sixth avails, causes.

"every establishment" "every" is an emphatic term, an absolute, where I feel a stronger and clearer emphasis is warranted, again, for profluence and paragraph arc sequence. The phrase falls midway in the paragraph, the point at which the paragraph best advised practice peaks. //each and every (or all),// for example, enhance and clarify emphasis, if intended.

"I'm welcome in every establishment from Midnight Cowboy to Coyote Ugly, and the area is perpetually awash with judgment-impaired college students and habitual drunks."

That is a run-on, fused sentence. The two independent clauses have different ideas. The connection intent is intuitive and interpretable, though the comma splice is clumsy and unwarranted or warrants revision. For illustration: // I'm welcome in each and all the booze shops from Midnight Cowboy to Coyote Ugly, welcome to their judgment-impaired college kids and habitual drunks.//

"It's," as the paragraph is, modifies a close proximity antecedent subject: the club area awash with prey. However, a clearer and stronger sentence subject than a pronoun-verb contraction is warranted. The expletive nature of a pronoun sentence subject wants a substitution for best reader effect, for more appealing specificity and forward flow (profluence). The pronoun demands readers recall or read back to the antecedent subject. Use of pronoun expletives is a casual, everyday conversational expression method, for speech. For thought, though, stream of consciousness, again, a common and effective method is interjectory sentence fragments that drop sentence subjects and verbs. //A perfect feeding ground.// Though "perfect" is too generic an emphatic a term for the emphasis the phrase warrants. A term meaning abundant and vulnerable could artfully replace "perfect."

"I'm _in_ the mood _for_ a slice _of_ home, _so_ I make my way to B.D. Riley's Irish Pub."

Three preposition connectors and adverbial connector "so" in that sentence warrants reconsideration. Numerous prepositions and connectors and their noun and verbal phrases slow, stall, or reverse profluence flow. They lose and bore readers. A best advised practice is to limit prepositions and connectors, especially for stream of consciousness methods. Also, "so" has a unique prose use different from formal composition; not to mean therefore, as a result of; rather, to express emphasis of a feminine language nature. He would be _so_ sorry. I don't feel this narrator-agonist is per se feminine, though. Anyway, for illustration: //I'm of a home slice mood. I sidle my way toward B.D. Riley's Irish Pub.//

Paragraph break warranted after that line in any case.

"A blonde with a pixie cut is seated at the bar."

Note the predicate "is seated" uses a to be present tense auxiliary verb and a past tense participle main verb. The verb to seat used as an intransitive verb, meaning to take one's seat is an archaic expression, perhaps suitable to a person of an older-era Irish extraction. However, as a piece of characterization, the verb falls flat from lack of parallel or congruent development. The helper verb and the past participle verb is a non-dynamic predicate, is static and possibly passive voice, where active and dynamic voice is warranted.

The transitive verb case to seat takes an object of a preposition. "at" is a preposition; however, the above use functions as an adverb to clarify the positional direction of the participle verb "seated" "at the bar" and modifies where the girl is. Tested with other prepositions, /by the bar/, /on the bar/, /of the bar/, /to the bar/, etc., show how the expression is clumsy. Also, if the transitive verb were linked to a genuine preposition-object phrase, the voice would be passive voice. /is seated at the bar by the maitre de./ Problematic in any case.

In other words, a recast of the sentence is warranted, focused on the predicate and prepositions "with" and "at." //Inside at Riley's, a blonde pixie-cut pubber girl fidgets on a barstool.//

"She's not the usual flavor I find here: no older than twenty-five, dressed more like a clubber than a pub girl."

Again, negation statements without rhetorical context and texture to fulfill irony's clear expression need. The colon is unwarranted, too. A dash would serve more artfully, and perhaps recast for stronger flow organization. //She's a flavor I rarely find on Dirty Sixth -- more a club girl than a pubber, about the age of twenty-five.//

"She's more hard edges than curves, but her low-cut top offers a delicious panorama from neck to cleavage."

"more" repetition too close to the antecedent one. Meaningless contrast conjunction "but." //She's hard edges and few curves. Her low-cut top displays delicious neck all the way to exposed cleavage.//

"I run a hand through my hair to give it that boyish tousle"

"run" is an idiom that implies in this case a hand's fingers rapidly ambulate through a hair meadow. Clumsy, to me. /pass/ is little better. /comb/ or similar /brush/, to me, express clearly and strongly the operative intent and verb.

"it," again, an unnecessary pronoun and followed by pronoun as complement "that." The infinitive verb "to give," again, the verb is the pivot, is the source for revision consideration. "Tousle" is the operative verb. //I brush a hand through my hair, tousle my neat and tight locks for that boyish rumple//

The sixth fragment is overall above self-publication par, though, to me, nonetheless contains markers thereof. A few adjustments, as illustrated above, I feel would carry this fragment over the bar.

[ August 02, 2015, 02:15 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
Oops! Didn't actually edit the previous version.

That wasn't actually an official rewrite so much as something I threw together as an example in the spur of the moment. Here's the official, cleaned-up sixth take on the thirteen lines:

quote:
Dirty Sixth calls to me, a raucous blaze of neon lights and auditory overload. Fifty disparate bars and clubs sprawl along the street's litter-strewn confines, which are saturated with judgment-impaired college students and habitual drunks. This is my consummate feeding ground.
I've visited every establishment from Midnight Cowboy to Coyote Ugly, but B.D. Riley's Irish Pub feels like a second home. A blonde with a pixie cut catches my eye as I walk through the door. She's a flavor I've not found here before. She wears the brightly-colored attire of a raver. She's more hard edges than curves, but the confidence in her posture appeals to me. Her low-cut top offers a delectable panorama from neck to cleavage.



[ August 02, 2015, 01:22 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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Though raw and a few language considerations in the improvised intermediate version, the sixth version loses the "improv's" spicy liveliness and closeness of distance. Managing rawness for best reader effect's sake re-visions clarity and strength, especially emotional attitude expression strength, that nonetheless is polished prose style for reading and comprehension ease though appeals for the raw emotional signals of a viewpoint agonist's personal and messy interactions with circumstances: events, settings, and characters. The latest version forces comprehension clarity at the expense of emotional strength.

Maybe the time has come for the next installment of the discourse class with focus on stream-of-consciousness methods. Thoughts are overtly messy compared to formal written word composition's polished style, though covertly when written are sublime and as such are challenging to write.

A stream-of-consciousness method prelude: interjectory sentence fragments, syndeton (conjunction), both or either asyndeton (no conjunction words) and polysnydeton (multiple conjunction words), non-run-on nor fused complex-compound sentences though, elided particles and articles and pronouns and other parts of speech, subjunctive grammatical mood, pressure of thought and speech (manic-like), hyperbaton (inverted syntax though not passive voice), artful dash, colon, and semicolon use to signal redirected thought and also subtly relevant though strained idea connections. In other words, generally, artfully ungrammatical composition.

Between the demands of grammatically proper polish and messiness of ungrammatically improper grammar lays rhetoric's figurative language discretionary options and exceptions that enliven written word prose and form a basis for speech, thought, and narration types of stream of consciousness.

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Though raw and a few language considerations in the improvised intermediate version, the sixth version loses the "improv's" spicy liveliness and closeness of distance. Managing rawness for best reader effect's sake re-visions clarity and strength, especially emotional attitude expression strength, that nonetheless is polished prose style for reading and comprehension ease though appeals for the raw emotional signals of a viewpoint agonist's personal and messy interactions with circumstances: events, settings, and characters. The latest version forces comprehension clarity at the expense of emotional strength.

I'll take a look at it again later, see if I can't get the liveliness back. XP My biggest difficulty with this story has consistently been getting the viewpoint character's voice across without making ridiculous grammatical errors. The character has a very roundabout speech/thought pattern, which means a lot of unnecessary extra words tend to crop up in early drafts. Then I go to edit things and have to try to find the right balance of grammar and character.

I never have this much trouble when I'm writing in third person, but this story works best in first person because of the increased immersion. I want the readers to *feel* the character's dilemma as close to first-hand as they can, because it really helps drive the horror aspects of the story home.

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extrinsic
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Third person can be construed as writer voice and usually though not exclusively asks for grammatically proper Standard Written English and all its attachments plus rhetorical style

First person's close persona viewpoint stream of consciousness, however, depends heavily upon personal and therefore subjective perception of and response to stimuli, which likewise depends on unconventional, subjective to the first-person narrator's personal grammar. Experimentation is warranted, though a guideline set avails and depends on reader and writer familiarity of discretionary grammar customs that express clear and strong meaning intents, for appeals and ease of reading and comprehension.

For illustration:

"Fifty _disparate_ bars and clubs sprawl _along_ the street's _litter-strewn_ _confines_, _which_ _are_ _saturated_ _with_ judgment-impaired college students and habitual drunks. This is my _consummate_ feeding ground."

Underscores above bracket problematic expression areas for consideration, too pat for appeal, too clear for ease and comprehension, little intellectual engagement and hence little emotional and imaginational engagement.

For artful awkwardness weighted against though congruent to clarity and strength, metalepsis is a rhetorical scheme and trope that avails guidance for intellectually, emotionally, and imginationally engaging "estranging metaphors," a term Seymour Chatman coined in Story and Discourse. Either label suffices, and both are only shorthand terms for complex arrangements of artfully strained term interrelations. "disparate," for example, is strained, too strained for the context, and not stressed enough for effective metalepsis, I feel.

Fifty disparate bars is a no-brainer, too pat, too on-the-nose proper grammar and detail that asks no interpretation, and a contradiction. Of course, neighboring bars superficially differ from each other and are otherwise identical in all commerce respects. Little if any interpretive engagement.

Frankly, the improvised version expresses the same information livelier, albeit a few language considerations. My illustration example is livelier and smoother language flow, even if I do say so myself. I'd add another bar popular-culture name, too, like Mr. Goodbar, for visceral and psychological horror foreshadowing, and for the emphasis enhancements that triplets entail.

I'd also consider mixing up the bar names so that they express the viewpoint agonist-narrator's personal, subjective, perhaps sarcastic mockery attitude toward their iconic popular culture representations: //Cowboy Ugly to Midnight Coyote to Kid Goodbar,// for examples. That's also artful Metalepsis.

[ August 02, 2015, 02:11 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
I'd also consider mixing up the bar names so that they express the viewpoint agonist-narrator's personal, subjective, perhaps sarcastic mockery attitude toward their iconic popular culture representations: //Cowboy Ugly to Midnight Coyote to Kid Goodbar,// for examples.
These are all actual bars on an actual street in Austin, Texas. As such, I'd prefer to keep the names as is.
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Disgruntled Peony
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I've been submitting this story places, and it wasn't getting anything other than form rejections. I eventually realized that the entire first scene, while very prettily written, would work much better as a novel opening than a short story opening because it does very little for the story as a whole. Essentially, I had to kill my darling.

So I did.

I don't need feedback on the story as a whole at this point, but I do need feedback on the first thirteen lines, because they were never initially intended to be the first thirteen and I'm worried they might need a little more punch.

Take 7:

I awaken to the smell of blood. It's dried, faded, mixed in with the salty-sweet remnants of sex and sweat, but there nonetheless. A low groan escapes my lips as I roll over in what I assume to be my bed. Instead I fall from my couch to the floor. My eyes jolt open as I lurch upward and hit my head on the corner of the coffee table. I slump back down with a muffled curse.
Rumination leads me to discover that a good portion of the previous night's memories are muddied and indecipherable. The alcohol must have hit me harder than expected; I've not lost time like that in decades. And the blood... where did that come from?
Who did that come from?

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extrinsic
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An individual wakens to confused recollections after a night of unrembered ribald revelry.

This opening contains features that are common for waking scenes; that is, wakes up, doesn't know where or why, etc., and explores the setting for clues to where, or why, what, who, etc., the individual is, that the story is about. Actually, this is a Dischism: writer's writing circumstances influence the action and are put on the empty page to be explored dramatically.

The wake-up is the entry into the empty page; the confusion the doubt about the writing process; the exploration looks for solutions to the empty page and the doubt. Every writer encounters Dischisms until their shortfalls are realized and transcended. Dischism is a Turkey City Lexicon term for a problematic writer surrogacy type, attributed to critic Thomas M. Disch, who first enumerated the type.

Also, the first person mediation of the action is, to me, too close a distance; each sentence except for the last two contains one or more first-person pronouns. That's a signal for a writer to be wary of first person's challenges.

Example: "I awaken to the smell of blood."

The smell sensation of blood stands by itself to start the sequence. Then if a character introduction is wanted, a separate sentence could be an emotional reaction to the smell, the blood, and introduction of the character in sentence object position. Sensation and reaction is a logical, natural sequence of events. They could be joined, though by realization of their logical sequence. //The smell of blood awoke me.// Sentence subject sensation, sentence predicate reaction, then first person character introduction in sentence object position.

A definite article sentence and opening start "The," though is problematic because articles, generally, are empty adjectives. Definite articles generally are used for an already introduced item, a proper noun title or label, and for emphasis, like an emotionally charged circumstance, respectively, a smell of blood, the blood pooled; the White House said; unto the dark pale of a barren wood.

Therein is a thought: an emotionally charged adjective or adverb, as the case may be, is more robust prose craft. In any case, the original sentence and the example above are summary and explanation -- tell. Show describes a sensation alone and leaves out words that describe the action of sensation -- smell, see, hear, touch, taste, feel, and their similar verbs as well as walk, stand, wait, run, sit, lie and lay, etc., verbs. Those verb types mediate an action from a summary and explanation narrator perspective; they tell and from outside and looking in, not from a viewpoint's internal perspective looking out. Tell verbs are not as problematic for dialogue, though, per se.

For first person, narrator mediation opens the form's default close distance and pulls back farther than perhaps is best practice for prose.

To me, the fragment forces prose's sixth sense emotional feel unnaturally.

For more "punch," consider the above logical sequence, sensation then reaction. Describe the blood aroma vividly and lively, and freshly. The usual resort is a metallic scent: coppery -- trite. A fresh approach could describe the blood scent as that of insulin's punky metal aroma or some other fresh, original description so that the sensation description is vivid and meaningful to readers.

I went decades baffled by copper descriptions of blood's smell, and an odd smell I couldn't interpret from hospitals and clinics' regular aroma ambiance; blood smell, clinicians said. I couldn't reconcile prose's default copper and the smell and how my blood smelled and tasted. Until I started taking insulin for diabetes and a drop or two spilled from the needles. That's the odor I smelled whenever in a hospital, clinic, ambulance, or other medical setting, like in another diabetic's home, or wherever blood spilled. Now, actually, the smell to me is of a plumber's pipe sealant clay, that's stale and old, somewhat earthy, somewhat metallic, somewhat punky, somewhat like electronics that fizzled and scorched insulation and solder flux.

Sensation description then reaction. A reaction could be held in abeyance for a brief time, to pile on sensation description and develop tension. That's how to naturally flow a prose narrative. Mindful that the sixth sense, emotion, is ever close to physical sensory stimuli causes.

Avoid also pronoun "it," possessive "its," and contraction "it's" as much as practical. Here, consider that an impersonal pronoun is signal that a more robust substitution and amplification scheme could raise emotional charge, could be wanted. "It" lets down flow and tension escalation from a poor substitute word for whatever "it" is. A livelier substitution amplifies a previous description. A blood smell, sticky blood syrup, crusted-dry blood, etc., scarlet and crimson stain; bloody jam, stale sweat, and burnt musk.

Here's that problematic "as" used for coordination conjunction I do go on about: "A low groan escapes my lips _as_ I roll over in what I assume to be my bed." Causality at least is inverted, the sensation first, yes; though naturally, the movement first causes the groan. A previous sensation could set up for the rollover reaction first. Three personal pronouns, too. As well, both clauses are tells. "escapes my lips" is a trite statement out of the gate, made no more fresh by regular repetition across romance genre and similar sentimental melodrama generally. Possibly stronger to separate the clauses into sentences in any case, natural cause first, natural reaction second.

This sentence's first word takes a comma after: "Instead[,] I fall from my couch to the floor." "Instead" is an adverb, a dependent sentence adverb that modifies the whole of the main clause. A comma separates a prefatory dependent word, phrase, or clause. Though too exacting punctuation use could make a sentence, paragraph, story stutter and bump. An alternative -- leave off sentence preface content. The inevitable surprise of a change in direction, not on the bed, on the couch, could be appealing. With suitable setup, though.

For the fragment overall, the above to me are also thoughts for revision considerations.

Oh ho! Self-realization that a short work in progress is better suited to a longer work is a sublime epiphany, that closer focus is wanted, fewer events, fewer settings, fewer characters, fewer conflicts and complications, as few as practical; otherwise, population and word-count explosions progress. Content fitted to container and vice versa, a sublime milestone reached upon the Poet's Journey.

I would not read on as engaged reader. Generally, unskillful first person is an obstacle for me.

[ November 24, 2015, 04:17 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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wetwilly
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I like it. I think it's a better place to start the story.

"I awaken to the smell of blood. It's dried, faded, mixed in with the salty-sweet remnants of sex and sweat, but there nonetheless."

That's got plenty of punch. How much more punch do you want than that as an opening?

I think "don't start with your character waking up" has the same qualifier as any other writing rule: "unless it's right for your story."

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Grumpy old guy
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If I were the Submissions Editor this fragment would get an automatic rejection. If I were in a charitable mood I might scribble in the margin, "Poor execution of a cliched waking-up opening."

As your Editor, I would advise to show, not use writer's tell. Show me his confusion waking in a place he didn't expect to. Show me how this confusion turns to worry in his mind when he realises he can't remember what happened last night. Show me his confusion turning to panic when he smells the blood.

Don't tell me all this, show it happening. Perhaps then you'll get past the automatic rejection phase.

Phil

Added later:

This seems like a better starting point. A character dramatic complication wanting satisfaction: What happened?

Phil.

[ November 25, 2015, 03:58 AM: Message edited by: Grumpy old guy ]

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walexander
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You should stay with one sense or the other. You start with smell. The next sentence implies feel or sight but you don't clarify. You mention alcohol but give no reason why he assumes alcohol was present. At the same time you use alcohol as the excuse he can't remember the previous event. So if he doesn't remember---why alcohol?

Example of one sense:
Whiskey and blood: Two smells combined that no one ever wants to wake up too. A dour omen of a drunk night gone wrong. Why can't I open my eyes? I prey that it is just sweat that has glued them shut and not the blood I smell. etc.

I'm not a big fan of Hook and first thirteen though I always try to make them crisp. I think writers put so much into them that it often hurts the pages after. I like to think of first thirteen as setting a pace and quality for your own writing. Many will say that first thirteen is what gets the quick glance to buy the book or story. Remember, all you are really doing is just hooking them to keep reading. It does absolutely no good if the following pages don't have as much attention to them. You will always lose an editor if your page two isn't just as good and page five and page ten and page one hundred. You have to place yourself in the character. Lie down,close your eyes, and even go through the motion of what you would feel as you awoke. It gives you a ton to work with. You just have to consolidate it from there.

This is going to sound strange but the best thing that you have going for you that I know you will find the story is persistence. Every writer hates it but it is the accumulation of a treasure trove of ideas. Then it just strikes you and you scrap from all of them and like magic. That story finally finds real life.

Don't give up. You're close.

W.

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wetwilly
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"You should stay with one sense or the other."

I'm curious why you think so, W. My inclination is to disagree, on the grounds that we don't experience reality one sense at a time. Why do you think we should limit fiction to one sense at a time?

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Disgruntled Peony
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It never even occured to me that the scene beginning with the character waking up might be a problem. Definitely makes me feel green. I also didn't realize I'd done so much telling.

I did think the prose felt clunkier then I'd remembered. That probably means the story as a whole merits another editing sweep. It does help to at least know I'm *sort of* on the right track, even if I've got a terribly long way to go.

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walexander
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Not a limit WW.

But clarity. It's just as fine to roam the senses. You wake up to the smell of blood. You hear a slow sound of a drip-drip. You feel the stickiness on your fingers. You open your eyes to see the empty bottles of alcohol, and then realize the taste in your mouth is not from the whiskey. Etc. Etc.

I said one sense because smell seemed to encompass most of the first descriptions, and gives more of a feel of a disorientated person coming back to the waking world that has lost all sense of their last whereabouts. If you have ever lost track of even if it is morning or night I tend to notice one sense predominates those first few seconds of disorientation then the others start to come online to fill in the picture. The more out of the norm the situation of what your senses tell you the longer it takes to orientate yourself back to your surroundings because your mind immediately goes into the "WHAT THE..." mode.

But that is just my personal opinion. And I'm sure it can very greatly between authors. Again I'm looking also not just at the first thirteen but where the story is going on the next page and the next page after. For me their is no reason to crowd the first page with multiple senses where one or two gets the ball rolling to carry the reader into the momentum of the following pages. It just depends on how fast you want that first pace to be which would start by asking is it a slow wake up or a startled bolt upright. Which usually tells the reader how the character went unconscious, the body still remembers and tends to wake you the way you went out. UNLESS...you are waking up in bad condition. Then it's usually always a very slow wake up.

But these again are all just opinions to use or throw away. That's the great thing about writing something new is always just around the corner.

W.

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wetwilly
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Thanks for the explanation, W. I agree that one or two well-chosen details (or in this case, senses) are likely to paint a clearer picture than the shotgun/fire hose method.
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extrinsic
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Grand Dame of Canadian literature culture Margaret Atwood notes that a majority fraction of the country's fiction portrays victimization. I've noted victimism tends to be of a feminine type, not male or female per se, more of sociology's concept of feminine is often done to and masculine is often do to. One, internal forces demand action and push out; the other, external forces push in and demand action. Nor are they per se one or the other exclusively, they are pushmi-pullya forces inside and out.

Feminine starts place protagonists in a position of internal and external problems inflicted upon them that stir them to proactive action. Masculine starts place protagonists in a position of self-involved wants from forces within and without that compel them to action. Subtle distinction, simplified though: done and did unto, victimized; and do unto, victimizer; (do unto others as ye will be done unto), so to speak. This is a global generalization that by no means is absolute, nor specific to exclusively male or female writers, young or old, focal characters, viewpoint agonists, readers, or what have you.

Feminine narratives more emphasize internal conflict and of a feminine emotional charge. Masculine narratives more emphasize external conflict and of a masculine emotional charge. Internal and external conflict emphasis proportions for both -- nor is interior discourse per se internal conflict. Internal conflict is conflict and complication that internally agonizes about temptation and obligation of a moral type, etc. Interior discourse is a viewpoint persona's thoughts.

For a spectrum metric though, a thought for consideration about audience: masculine readers favor masculine narratives; feminine readers favor feminine narratives.

So, yeah, a complication want and problem introduction and satisfaction efforts is a vital piece of a story, best advised earliest possible development, for short fiction in particular. So that a story's all, what, victimism type too? is cued up. The assorted movements, plot, character, emotional, etc., don't begin until complication introductions. Otherwise, stasis of writer, plot, character, emotion, appeal, publication, and reader.

[ November 25, 2015, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Igwiz
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I don't have any issues with a "waking up scene" as an intro. I think that my issue goes along with extrinsic's in the sense that I have a really hard time staying involved in a first person POV. (That said, I'm also a sucker for Butcher's Harry Dresden, and it's ALL in first person).

The reason I think we're all having an issue with this particular "awakening" is that it is "first person awareness" that is functioning as exposition. We aren't actually in media res..., we're in the middle of scene setting, and because of our POV, we can only do it from the character's real-time perspectives. And that, my friends, is very hard to do well.

This is the difference between, "I looked out the window and saw that it was a dark and stormy night..." (which is telling) and "I lifted the corner of the curtain and watched the sheets of rain turning the nearest street light into a strobe light." (which is showing)

I would strongly encourage you to re-think your POV for this story (he says, likely far too late), as first person POV is wicked hard to do well, and is also harder to sell. (take a quick look at the last couple of months of any pro publication. You might find a handful of first person and a ship's hold full of third person).

Yes, it can be done. But whether or not it can be done easily (or well) is the real question.

Good luck on this.

[ December 03, 2015, 10:16 AM: Message edited by: Igwiz ]

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