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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Water Dancer - first 13

   
Author Topic: Water Dancer - first 13
Deborah
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“No!” screamed Melissa, blocking the staircase with outstretched arms. “That’s mine! Leave it, you thief!”
The ex-nursemaid laughed and hugged the woven bundle more tightly. “Move, child, before I knock you down to the courtyard. Fall like that, and you might join your mother quick.”
Outmatched in both size and strength, Melissa vaulted into the woman’s stomach, head first, and they both collapsed on the wooden floor. She dug under the fat arms for her cloth.
“I made it. It’s worth hundreds. I have to sell it today. Give. It. Back.”
With the last word, she fell off her enemy, shoved against the clay wall.

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satate
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I like it, you got me hooked. I don't have any critisism. I was actually sad as I reached the last word.
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jdt
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With the last word, she fell off her enemy, shoved against the clay wall.

Was Melissa or the nursemaid shoved against the wall?

[This message has been edited by jdt (edited May 11, 2009).]


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Jaz
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A very good opening. The only part that struck me as a little off was the last sentence.

<i>With the last word, she fell off her enemy, shoved against the clay wall.</i>

I think it was the "her enemy" part. I think it just sounds too self-important.

Also who exactly is shoved against the wall isn't clear.

I'd go with something like:
"With the last word, she fell of her nursemaid who was shoved against the clay wall."


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Snow Crash
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Hi Deborah.

“No!” screamed Melissa, blocking the staircase with outstretched arms. “That’s mine! Leave it, you thief!”
((I would take off the comma. When angry, we spare little time to punctuate our sentences. 'Leave it you thief!' But that's just me))

The ex-nursemaid ((ex-nursemaid? Something doesn't seem right there. The fired nursemaid, retired nursemaid etc, but ex-nursemaid just doesn't work for me at all)) laughed and hugged the woven bundle ((more)-delete)) tightly. “Move, child, before I knock you down to the courtyard. Fall like that, and you might join your mother quick.”

((Is this implying her mother's dead? In hospital from a fall? To me, this is a cryptic sentence. Either change the sentence or have the MC internally reflecting upon these words to give them more meaning))

((Despite being)) Outmatched in both size and strength, Melissa vaulted ((head first)) into the woman’s stomach, ((head first,- delete)) and they both collapsed ((crashed maybe? Collapsed to me implies exhaustion)) on the wooden floor. She dug under the ((woman's)) fat arms for her cloth.
“I made it. It’s worth hundreds. I have to sell it today. Give. It. Back.” ((Give...it...back!))
With the last word, she fell off her enemy, shoved against the clay wall.

((Who's shoved against the wall? Did she fall off or was she shoved? Is it important that the wall is clay? If she's shoved against a wall, observing that the wall is hard would make more sense than the fact that it's clay))

Hope this helps. Obviously, all points are my own and in no way reflect a proffessional opinion. It starts with some action, which is nice, though to me a little confusing. A few key things would help make it clearer so I don't have to read it a couple of times before I can picture what's going on. Am I curious about the bundle and why it's worth so much? Yes, I am curious, but not for the right reasons. I feel like I've missed a page, like I should already know Melissa's character, and the ex-nursemaid and their relationship, and should be cheering when Melissa attacks her. But actually, I have no idea what's going on.

Personally, I think there's too much here if this is your first thirteen lines of the story. Fine for further down the page, but not for an opening.

Keep at it! I look forward to your next post.

[This message has been edited by Snow Crash (edited May 13, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Snow Crash (edited May 13, 2009).]


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