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Author Topic: Fantasy novel-untitled
MAP
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Okay, I am really itching for some feedback. Anything you can give me would be very appreciated. I think I can take it.

Thanks everyone.


When she saw Petri enter the bakery, Caylen slowed. The cold spring air filled her lungs as she tried to catch her breath. She did not want Petri to know how desperate she was, how she battled the festival crowd in a panic to get to him. But she was desperate. She needed to hire someone she could trust, who would respect her authority despite her age and gender. But mostly she needed someone who had worked for father before since mother opposed hiring outside help. If she brought home someone mother knew and liked, mother might not kill her.

As she passed the bakery, she glanced through the large window. Petri stood third in line rolling a coin over his fingers to the delight of a small child peering at him from behind her motherís skirt.


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Lionhunter
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quote:

When she saw Petri enter the bakery, Caylen slowed. The cold spring air filled her lungs as she tried to catch her breath. She did not want Petri to know how desperate she was, how she battled the festival crowd in a panic to get to him. But she was desperate. She needed to hire someone she could trust, who would respect her authority despite her age and gender. But mostly she needed someone who had worked for father before since mother opposed hiring outside help. If she brought home someone mother knew and liked, mother might not kill her.

As she passed the bakery, she glanced through the large window. Petri stood third in line rolling a coin over his fingers to the delight of a small child peering at him from behind her motherís skirt.


I liked it. For me, the hook was when i read that her mother would not kill her if she succeeded in her task. It raised a big question in me, of what kind of mother does she have, and why would they need the guy for hire.
One thing i feel it could improve would be the overall tone, it feels too... relaxed, i dunno. But this is just small suggestion, more personal rather than objective.


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Foste
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I liked it.

I think the relaxed tone fits, because it sets up the "What the hell?" moment when you read that her mother would kill her.

So far so good, I can't spot any inconsistencies.

Only a little question:
When you say she "slowed" do you mean her walking pace?
A silly quesiton I know I'd just like to be sure


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Edward Douglas
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As she passed the bakery, she glanced through the large window. Petri stood third in line rolling a coin over his fingers to the delight of a small child peering at him from behind her motherís skirt.

[I get the hook so no problems there. This second paragraph throws me, however. You say Caylen passes the bakery and at a glance, sees Petri (1) third in line, (2) rolling a coin over his fingers...To me this seems like a lot to take in at a "glance", so it doesn't entice me to read on. The episode begins to feel clichťd and contrived. I mean, I read it and got more of an impression that the girl should have stopped in front of the store in order to see what went on within the store, but that is not what the author is telling me.

This is how I saw it. Please forgive my rewrite, no offense intended:

As she passed in front of the bakery Caylen stopped and peered through one of the panes of the large window. The struggle between the colder air outside and the hotter oven air inside made it hard to see passed the thin layer of condensation, yet she managed to make out Petri in line at the counter. He was rolling what she was sure was a coin over his fingers...

I only added the condensation part because when I read your first piece, it struck me as odd that it could be cold out on the street, obviously warm in the bakery, yet there was a clear window to glance through.

Also, I don't think you need the word third with "third in line", unless it is significant to the tale, of course, so I purposely left it out in my rewrite.

Hope I've been of help?

Keep writing.

P.S., of course you could also just have Caylen stop in front of the open door then she could see clearly what was going on inside.


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Kitti
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Just FYI - I don't take the threat to her life seriously. I read it more as an exaggeration. Sort of a "Dude, I broke my cell phone, my parents are gonna kill me" when in reality the kid's just going to get grounded for a week.

If you really mean her mom might kill her, maybe add some other clues - like specify of how death might occur/had occurred with others, or add evidence of past physical abuse, that sort of thing.


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Lionhunter
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The killing part, well, considering the setting, i didn't really think of it as an expression of fear of rejection. We say that now, but 500 years ago?
edit:and even if the reader understands the expression just as an fear of rejection, it would make a pretty interesting twist when they found out that the mother would actually kill her (if this is what the author intended, of course).

[This message has been edited by Lionhunter (edited December 03, 2009).]


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MAP
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Thanks everyone.

Kitti is right. The line about her mother killing her was figurative. It didn't even occur to me that it would be taken literally. I understand why I was misinterpreted and I will try to fix it. Unfortunately, I think that means that my opening isn't very interesting.

Edward, thanks for pointing out my POV violation. I totally agree with you.

I am curious about your rewrite. Would the windows of the bakery be fogged? It is midmorning and jacket temperature, cold but not cold enough to see your breath. I live in the desert so where I live it wouldn't be fogged, but in an area with higher humidity like the midwest, would it?

Thanks again, I will work on this intro. I really appreciate all of the feedback.


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DaveBowen
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Is there more? If there's a way to make the part about her mother killing her literal, I'm hooked.

Dave Bowen


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Architectus
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It seems like a romance, which I enjoy reading. It got my attention, and I like the style of writing. It has a lot of introspection, which is common to a romance, so it works for me.

I didn't take the killing part literally, though, that might add a fire to the romance story, eh?

I usually have something to critique, but I would have to get really nitpicky to do that in this case.


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MAP
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Thanks Architectus. You are right it is kind of a romance. And although I agree with others that her mother being willing to kill her would be interesting, it just would not work for the story I am telling.

But maybe I will file that away for another story.


Thanks everyone for your input.


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Nathaniel Merrin
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Good 1st-person narration and imagery, MAP.
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TrishaH24
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Okay, first of all, I completly read the mother killing her bit as figurative. I hope you keep it, it's good. Second, and just a small thing, I think Mother and Father are technically proper nouns since you are not saying "her mother" or "her father." And there should probably be a break of some kind between "before since"--maybe a comma, or make it a whole new sentence? I don't know.

You really hooked me when she was catching her breath, hoping the guy would not see how desperate she was. I want to know why she is desperate. What is going on in her life? Why can they only hire people that have worked for them before?

I'd read more of this just because you've piqued my interes with the first few lines. Let me know if you need someone to go over the first five pages or chapter 1 or something. It feels like a good start to a good story.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Ooh! Someone spelled "piqued" correctly. What a sight for sore eyes.

Welcome to Hatrack, TrishaH24.


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WBSchmidt
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I know you posted this some time ago so hopefully this will be of help.

This start intrigues me for a couple reasons (excerpts from the story):

* "who would respect her authority despite her age and gender"
* "who had worked for father before since mother opposed hiring outside help"
* "If she brought home someone mother knew and liked, mother might not kill her"

These items pique my interest to turn the page. However, I will want to know what she is doing and why fairly soon. At this point my interest is based upon the importance of this situation and I hope that bit of information will intrigue me enough to continue further.

Although I did not read the posts previous to mine, I think I saw you state that "might not kill her" was figurative. At this early stage of a story such a phrase could be taken literally, whether you intend as such or not.

--William


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Teraen
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My editor brain felt you were telling too much. I don't know why, because I usually am not a stickler for the show-don't-tell rule.

When she saw Petri enter the bakery, Caylen slowed. The cold spring air filled her lungs as she tried to catch her breath.
As she passed the bakery, she glanced through the large window. Petri stood third in line rolling a coin over his fingers to the delight of a small child peering at him from behind her motherís skirt.
(Add in some action she is doing that can demonstrate her hesitation. Then it works as a better lead in for the explanation which follows.) She did not want Petri to know how desperate she was, how she battled the festival crowd in a panic to get to him. But she was desperate. She needed to hire someone she could trust, who would respect her authority despite her age and gender. But mostly she needed someone who had worked for father before since mother opposed hiring outside help. If she brought home someone mother knew and liked, mother might not kill her.


See? Just rearrange it a bit and you end on your potent line, and placate... me....


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Posie70
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I liked it...I felt she was following at a little distance and slowed when she saw him enter. She could still see him through a window? where he was 3rd in line.

You can tell she's young and possibly the society she is from is probably patriarchal seeing as how she's afraid he may not defer to her authority because of her age and sex?

I also didn't take the "mother would kill me" literally.

What's the story about?


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MAP
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Thanks for your crits.

@William, I'm trying to finish the novel before I rework this, so your input is very helpful. And yes everything will be answered once she meets up with Petri; hopefully it is interesting enough that I can hook you again.

@Teraen, I agree and will do my best to placate you.

@Posie70, It was really helpful to see your interpretation of the opening and reassuring that you were dead on. As for what my story is about...I am not sure I am ready to share, but hopefully I will have a query letter soon to be critiqued.


Thanks again everyone.


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