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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Ghost Story again. Less boring. thanks. You were right.

   
Author Topic: Ghost Story again. Less boring. thanks. You were right.
AllyL
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I heard the story of the lonely boy’s ghost for the first time when I was nine years old. My two older brothers dragged me into their room one night, closed the door and turned off the lights. We weren’t allowed to light matches unless a grown up was present. My oldest brother, Joe, pulled a book of matches out of his pants pocket and lit a match with one perfect strike because he’d practiced a lot. He held the flame to the wick of a scented candle he’d smuggled in from my parents’ bathroom. Then he pushed the blazing wax cylinder toward my face. I didn’t flinch. I said what I always said. “I’m tellin’.”
Clement yanked on my long ponytail. “Ouch! Now I’m tellin’ on both of you.” But I didn’t budge. I wanted to see what they would do next. “I know! Let’s tell ghost stories. What do you think, Annabelle?" Clement studied my eyes to gauge my reaction.


[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 07, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by AllyL (edited September 08, 2010).]


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CharityBradford
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quote:
I heard the story of the lonely I'd drop lonely. Possibly even "boy's" at this point. You can get to those details later with the story. boy’s ghost for the first time when I was nine years old. My two older brothers had drop had, just say dragged dragged me into their room one night, closed the door and turned off the lights. Like most children, Drop "like most children". That's a given so you don't need to state the obvious. Start here -->we weren’t allowed to light matches or use candles unless a grown up was present. My oldest brother, Joe, pulled a book of matches out of his pants pocket and lit a match with one perfect strike because he’d practiced a lot. I really like that image. I can see an older brother showing off how easy he can light a match. He held the flame to the wick of a scented candle he’d smuggled in from my parents’ bathroom.LOL Then he pushed the blazing wax cylinder toward my face. I didn’t flinch. I said what I always said. “I’m tellin’.”
Clement yanked on my long ponytail. “Ouch! Now I’m tellin’ on both of you.” But I didn’t budge. I wanted to see what they

I like it. This version is better than the other one you posted. There is a good feel of your voice and first glimpse of these characters.

Also, you can just update the 13 lines on this thread without starting a new one. It will be easier for you to keep up with the comments that are made.

[This message has been edited by CharityBradford (edited September 07, 2010).]


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LDWriter2
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It is better, more concise. But I didn't mention it last time but I don't think you need the "he practiced a lot". And I'm not sure about the perfect strike phrase either. I can see why you want them, I think, but it is an opening.

Most of the time shorter and concise is better. Noticed I said most of the time. I'm reading a book now that has a rather long opening, filled with a lot of stuff.

So I assume your MC is a girl or do they have long hair in that family?

And I forget if I mentioned this last time but also noticed this comes from someone who has only one short story sold three years ago.


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XD3V0NX
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I like this opening, though I have not read the last version, but I think this one is good and concise.

I think you can get rid of "because he'd practiced a lot." - That slows it down and I think it works better without it.

I also am going to guess this is a girl and that she is maybe around nine or ten years old. Little kids love getting their siblings in trouble.

But anyway, I think that wraps up my thoughts.

Good luck.


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DerekBalsam
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Oops, I didn't see this update. I had commented on the last thread, sorry.

I still am not sold on the "wax cylinder" description for the candle. We all know what a candle is; just call it a candle or "it".

This is much tighter than the last draft; nice.

-db


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AllyL
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“Let’s tell ghost stories. What do you think, Annabelle?” Without waiting for an answer, my two older brothers dragged me into their room, closed the door and turned off the lights. We weren’t allowed to light matches without a grownup present. My oldest brother, Joe, pulled a book of matches out of his pants pocket and lit one on the first try. He held the flame to the wick of a scented candle he’d smuggled in from my parents’ bathroom. Waving the blazing candle toward my face, he laughed his familiar, teasing laugh. I didn’t flinch. I said what I always said. “I’m tellin’.”
My brother Clement yanked on my long ponytail. “Ouch! Now I’m tellin’ on both of you.” But I didn’t run and tell. I edged toward them a few inches so I wouldn’t miss a word of their

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 21, 2010).]


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PB&Jenny
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...like a page from my youth. Like it.
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DerekBalsam
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Nice, tight wording, evocative atmosphere, establishing character. Well done!
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LDWriter2
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All together it is better. I don't think the whole thing should be one paragraph and the new part about her being "their favorite psychological experiment" might need a tiny bit of condensing but not bad at all.


Please notice I said might. To me it feels a tiny bit too long.


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MrsBrown
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I like both versions presented in this thread. It was clear to me in both versions that she is a girl.

My only nit is "our parents' bathroom".


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DevinAethnen
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I liked the second one a lot, but I disagree with cutting the part about the boy practicing lighting matches. To me, there is a big difference between a boy rebelling against his parents' wishes once or twice and a boy who does it habitually. At best, playing with matches is just idle rebellion, but at worst, it's a sign that he has a dark or even criminal personality. The fact that he is now threatening his sister adds to the latter possibility.
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