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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » philosophical murder first 13 lines

   
Author Topic: philosophical murder first 13 lines
mccjeff
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It was in the fall of the year, crisp leaves and apple pie and that bite in the air which meant football and navy blue scarves around every neck because school colors kept you warm. Apple pie was at home, though, and we were away at school watching the violence we were allowed to watch, two teams attacking and defending, war with rules and state of the art padding. Anne sat next to Joey, not really cuddling with him, but close enough that he knew she was with him, not Wil.
“ A Haiku about football, Wilfred?” Joey asked, in the way he had of juxtaposing one culture over another so that Wil would see feudal Japan, all war and rules, while watching the fall sport.
They challenged each other daily, hourly, write a haiku, list

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited August 07, 2008).]


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MrsBrown
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I am a bit interested in the mixing of cultures, but it needs work. My main complaint is, this is first person so where is “I”? Is the Point of View (POV) character hovering above the others’ heads watching them?

the rest is more nit-picky:

“because school colors kept you warm” doesn’t make sense.

“watching the violence we were allowed to watch” is repetitive; how about “watching sanctioned violence” or some such?

The first mention of apple pie, and then withdrawing it in “Apple pie was at home, though, and we were away at school” is distracting and unnecessary. Just let us know they’re at school.

I think “state of the art” should all be hyphenated.

“Joey asked, in the way he had of juxtaposing one culture over another so that Wil would see feudal Japan, all war and rules” I think you mean that they both juxtapose cultures, but this makes it sound like Joey has to make it work for Wil.

“while watching the fall sport” does not sound natural.

"close enough that he knew she was with him, not Wil" is nice.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited August 08, 2008).]


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satate
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I liked this alot. I like the scene it conjured up for me. I would keep reading
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hteadx
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I like the title, there is a sense of irony in it because philosophy is more connected to the mental/soul. While murder is usually a physical action.

I also had a problem with the POV. It's muddled because we don't know where or who the narrator is.

I had some difficulty getting into the rhythm of the story, but I think that's just a difference in preference of styles. It seems like you're writing for a lyrical style, which I'll admit is not my forte`.

I, however, have seen the opening paragraph of your story before. The description of being in college in fall is a very popular opening for college students writing for their creative writing class. I'm not saying you have to ditch the opening. Just beware that it will face stiff scrutiny because it's been done many times already.

The Haiku about football part was interesting, but the lengthy explanation about it felt awkward. Why not show the readers the full conversation? I think a dialog between the characters would feel more natural than just dropping the reader in the middle of the conversation with "A Haiku about football?" and than having to narrate the explanation.

Right now it reads like a character story because the pace is slow.

I would read on, mostly because the title promises a lot and I'm not oppose to reading character stories.


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Alye
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It’s a loose conversational narrative. It needs some clarity though. It is kind of hard to follow. I assume its first person view. I am unsure of who it is the story is following. That can be ok if it is made clear soon with in the next few lines.

Some of the metaphors were confusing, conceder revising your choice of words. Maybe something like “because school colors keep you warmer” or “because school colors keep you warm with spirit” instead of “…because school colors kept you warm.” I don’t like the word kept in this instance as it implies that they no longer keep you warm.

“Apple pie was at home, though, and we were away at school watching the violence we were allowed to watch, two teams attacking and defending, war with rules and state of the art padding.” This is bulky and hard to read. It slows down the flow of words for me.

“Apple pie was at home, and we were away at school watching the game.

“Violence we watched
Two teams attack and defend.
With rules and padding.”

I converted it to a Haiku in there (I think 5-7-5?), it felt fitting. =)

I would drop the line “Anne sat next to Joey, not really cuddling with him, but close enough that he knew she was with him, not Wil.” Make us wonder who she is with, draw on the natural sexual tension between male and female. If she is trying to make a point with her body language, describe it to us as the narrator sees it. Don’t tell us what she is doing, because unless your narrator is psychic he/she wouldn’t know the reason unless they were told.

“A Haiku about football, Wilfred?” But, you introduced him as Wil? To many names can to soon can really make characters unclear or blurred with others with similar sounding names. Wil is his familiar name and his friends would be calling him Wil. His mom might call him Wilfred, or a teacher at school might. It must be clear that Wil and Wilfred is the same person.

“Joey asked, in the way he had of juxtaposing one culture over another so that Wil would see feudal Japan, all war and rules, while watching the fall sport.” So Joey has some sort of power to influence Wil’s thought? Does Joey do this on purpose? How does the narrator know?

The final line is incomplete so I won’t comment.

I’m nitpicking. Take it or leave it they are only suggestions. And, as my friend Max always says, “If the mountain was smooth you couldn’t clime it.”


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WouldBe
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I started to reply to this one several times, but couldn't corral my thoughts. I'll just say that this is an ambitious start and if you can pull it off, congratulations.

The others have covered the various technical issues. What I worried about is the difficulty of continuing in this vein without it seeming like continuous mockery, which would get old quickly. For example, the characters in the opening attend a football game while considering it violence. There is a fine line between social commentary and mockery. It would not be pleasant if the characters seemed like a Greek chorus of uber humans, always pointing fingers. The promise of cultural comparisons is quite interesting, but if it is always Japanese culture through the lens of haiku compared to US college campus culture, daily, hourly ("pagely"?), then, it better be damn good haiku.

So, my comments are not criticisms of your idea, just worries about the difficulty of pulling off a novel-length work of this nature. I have no doubt that it can be.... I've also read *a lot* into a very short passage, so I wouldn't be shocked if much of what I said was off the mark. Good luck.


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Palaytiasdreams
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I'm gonna give this a go...

First off I did like it. Sorry I don't know how to highlight or anything so I'll try to make it readable.


"It was in the fall of the year, crisp leaves and apple pie and that bite in the air which meant football and navy blue scarves around every neck because school colors kept you warm."

I loved this line! Of course you have to wear your school colours. To me this is so...highschoolish. Wether you meant it to be or not, it made sense to me

" Apple pie was at home, though, and we were away at school watching the violence we were allowed to watch, two teams attacking and defending, war with rules and state of the art padding."

I'm still thinking this is First Person and can picture a group of ...college? guys sitting on a battered sofa watching the game. I love the "war with rules and state of the art padding."


"Anne sat next to Joey, not really cuddling with him, but close enough that he knew she was with him, not Wil."

Okay how does this character know this? This is where I got confused.

“ A Haiku about football, Wilfred?” Joey asked, in the way he had of juxtaposing one culture over another so that Wil would see feudal Japan, all war and rules, while watching the fall sport.
They challenged each other daily, hourly, write a haiku, list "

I'm ready for more.

Pal...puttin in her two cents worth


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tchernabyelo
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This is a good opening so long as we get a clear resolution of the POV issue before too long - the "we" implies an I, but the first three people introduced aren't the I. You CAN get an "invisible narrator" to work - someone who is present at events but never identified or even a participant - but it's a difficult trick to pull off.

Atmosphere and observation are pretty effective. It's clean and reads well. Good work.


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