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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Young Grayson first thirteen

   
Author Topic: Young Grayson first thirteen
micmcd
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Hi Everyone,

Posted below is the first thirteen of the childhood storyline of my WIP. If anyone is interested in reading more, I'd love crits.

The story is a fantasy setting in a city moderately reminiscent of 1900-era America. Magic exists, though you don't see it in this first 13. I'll post a little lower the general setting here, but I don't want to ruin it in this post b/c I hope the setting comes through a little bit in the first 13. For those of you who remember the F13 I posted a while back called "City of Magi," this is the childhood storyline of the main character, and I spend most of the time in his head (which I almost never do as an adult).

quote:

A hole in Grayson’s trouser leg let the chill of the fall air bite at his knees, but he paid it no mind. His clothes were always too flimsy for the cold months; it was simply a fact of life. Besides, the battle in front of him was far too exciting to worry about something as trivial as the cold. He moved Captain Aster slowly, quietly, around the tree root; the Captain was spying on Valanian raiders. The funny strips in the paper got the Captain all wrong – in those, he would have just charged out with a great roar and met the raiders head on. That Captain seemed to ooze reddish-orange, like the setting sun. Grayson knew the real Captain Aster, though; he was more blue. He would sneak up on the raiders from behind and throw a net around them while they slept. It fit the way

[This message has been edited by micmcd (edited February 09, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 09, 2009).]


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Dogmatic
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Hi
Great job. I liked the writing and the set up. I would like to know more about the story though. What type of story is this? Is there something ominous about to happen and if so should you hint at it in the first 13 lines?

Thanks
Steve


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micmcd
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My apologies -- spent time making sure I had 13 lines according to the rules here, and completely forgot to introduce the work as a whole. I have updated the first post to include that introduction.

This is a child playing during recess at an orphanage. He's about to have an encounter with a bully, but nothing terribly ominous is about to happen (no pack of griffons descending from the sky hurling lightning bolts from their claws). Just a schoolyard dust-up that I feel really characterizes young Grayson.

[This message has been edited by micmcd (edited February 09, 2009).]


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Bent Tree
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quote:
A hole in Grayson’s trouser leg let the chill of the fall air bite at his knees, but he paid it no mind.

This line seems counter-intuitive to the POV. If he noticed, he did pay it some mind. I suppose this may be nit-picky, and it would have gone without mention except for the following text is deep in the POV character:

quote:
The funny strips in the paper got the Captain all wrong

This obviously must be the POV's opinion.

Otherwise, I was a bit confused but lured at the same time. Had I not read the comment by a poster, then the intro to the intro, I wouldn't have nescesarrily picked up on what was going on. The first time through, I thought the 'Captain' was indeed a Captain and that this was set is some dangerous situation.

So I think this has real potential, but could use a good polishing. I would read on if it were...with gusto!


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micmcd
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Interesting point about the POV issue. I'll see what I can come up with as a fix - I think you are definitely right. The "hole in the pants" bit was there to emphasize that this isn't exactly St. Benedict's School for the Elite and Wealthy in Newport, RI. He notices the breeze, but it's normal and he doesn't really care.

Did it take a while to get a sense that Grayson is a child? I didn't want to sneak up on people with that.

[This message has been edited by micmcd (edited February 10, 2009).]


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Pyraxis
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I didn't figure out Grayson was a child until "He moved Captain Aster slowly" but I really liked it that way - the point where I realized that he was a kid, not a general, and his soldiers were toys. I thought the transition was deft and it was part of what hooked me.

I think too much time/space is spent on the hole in his trouser leg, since it covers the first two sentences. The same point could be made with something shorter like "Grayson paid the holes in his flimsy trousers no mind. The battle in front of him was far too exciting to worry about something as trivial as the fall chill. He moved Captain Aster slowly..." - I'm hooked much more by the battle amongst the tree roots than the fact that he's being neglected at an orphanage, since that's such a common trope.

I was confused about setting, since the names imply high fantasy to me, but the comic strips in the newspaper imply modern times. If I were picking up the book in a store, though, that probably wouldn't matter since I'd have already figured out setting from the cover art and back blurb.

The "ooz(ing) reddish-orange" and "blue" makes me think magic or psychic power, but at first it wasn't clear whether it was meant literally - like was the light of the setting sun catching his toys as he played. So I was confused by that section, but would have been intrigued by the idea of personalities represented by colors if it were more clear whether it was magic, synaesthesia, or what.

I'd be happy to trade a chapter. I saw your post in my Water Song thread.

[This message has been edited by Pyraxis (edited February 11, 2009).]


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