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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Aries Scorched (MG Fantasy) First 13

   
Author Topic: Aries Scorched (MG Fantasy) First 13
Amanda1199
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Version 2 is the second attempt with the critiques incorporated. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks so much!

VERSION 2:
Silvery strands oozed together, forming a body—a featureless, weird, see-through body. The Creeper’s head hadn’t emerged yet, but a cloud pooled into a circle on her shadowy shoulders. I wondered if the Shadow Creeper, the kid-gobbling-undead-beasty, could kill me in a dream. Or did I have to be awake?

She continued to twist into shape right in front of me as I struggled to open my eyes. My skin tingled with a sickening urge to go to her. She’d probably eat me. Or soul-suck me. Or whatever the Creeper actually did to kids she caught and creepified. No one had a clue. But what we knew for sure was that once you glimpsed the Creeper, you might as well be bug slime.


***********************

VERSION 1: I stumbled toward the mist slithering out of the dark night. Panic pricked my skin as the silvery strands oozed together, forming a body—a featureless, weird, see-through body. I stammered as the creature appeared paces from where I stood. My chest buzzed. My heart thudded. I yelled at myself, Wake up you dwit! Wake up!

The Creeper’s head hadn’t emerged yet, but a cloud pooled into a circle on her shadowy shoulders. I wondered if the Shadow Creeper, the undead-beasty-who-gobbles-up-kids-in-the-night, could kill me in a dream. Or did I have to be awake?

She continued to twist into shape right in front of me as I struggled to open my eyes. My skin tingled with a sickening urge to go to her. She’d probably eat me. Or soul-suck me.


NOTES: Book is complete at 28k and part of a series by my writing partner (Kristen - lurking somewhere on this forum) and myself. It's post apocalyptic middle grade fantasy (Question - do you use the term post-apocalyptic if it is 200 years after the apocalyptic event, or is it simply termed fantasy? The world's base is magic based on mythology, but the world has post-apocalyptic settings.)

We're concerned about chapter one. We realize that it's cliche to start in a dream, but mostly when the reader is unaware you're in a dream and it's used as a device to grab attention that has no direct tie to the plot. Starting here is integral to our plot, comes full circle in the epilogue and actually is not a "dream" although that is not revealed until the epilogue (though hinted at), and is explored later throughout the series.

So our biggest questions - a) does it work, b) how do you feel about the cliche?

And by all means...rip away...


[This message has been edited by Amanda1199 (edited November 03, 2010).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 03, 2010).]


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sojoyful
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quote:
b) how do you feel about the cliche
Short answer: OK. Longer answer: At first, I was ready to roll my eyes, but in the second paragraph I realized that the cliche did not apply, so I was intrigued.

quote:
a) does it work
Almost... I'm having a hard time putting my finger on what isn't working for me. I think it's the first paragraph. Maybe because that para feels a little generic: Monster attacking in the night, frightened MC, potential cliche dream sequence (note above that I thought it was cliche until the 2nd para). Also, the heightened fright state didn't work well for me off the bat because we haven't met the MC yet and therefore have no emotional involvement with him/her (i.e. no reason to care that he/she is scared).

The 2nd and 3rd paras worked much better, because I was pulled in by the fact that she knows she is asleep and is trying to wake up. This tells me that something unusual about dreams is going on, and it is a known element within the fictional universe. Interesting.

Hope this helps.


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Amanda1199
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Sojoyful, thank you very much. Your comments make sense. I cut per your comments. I combined the first two paragraphs and cut the emotion references to:

I stumbled toward the mist slithering out of the dark night. The silvery strands oozed together, forming a body—a featureless, weird, see-through body. The Creeper’s head hadn’t emerged yet, but a cloud pooled into a circle on her shadowy shoulders. I wondered if the Shadow Creeper, the undead-beasty-who-gobbles-up-kids-in-the-night, could kill me in a dream. Or did I have to be awake?

Also possible - nix the first sentence and start with "The silvery strands..."

As a note - not only is this targeted toward middle grade, but hi/lo readers, if that makes any difference.



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Corky
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I think you may want to reword that first sentence. The first time I read it, I thought you were saying your point of view character was slithering.

Perhaps?

quote:
I stumbled toward the mist as it slithered out of the dark night.

or, since I don't think I'd be inclined to move in any way toward slithering mist

quote:
I stumbled to a stop at the sight of mist slithering toward me out of the dark night.

Which brings me to the question of where this is that someone would be stumbling in the dark night toward mist of any kind.

Stumbled along the forest path?

Stumbled on the walk from my house?

Stumbled while waiting to cross the busy highway?


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Amanda1199
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Corky - good point. Given that, I think we'll rewrite the opening paragraph to simply read:

Silvery strands oozed together, forming a body—a featureless, weird, see-through body. The Creeper’s head hadn’t emerged yet, but a cloud pooled into a circle on her shadowy shoulders. I wondered if the Shadow Creeper, the undead-beasty-who-gobbles-up-kids-in-the-night, could kill me in a dream. Or did I have to be awake?

To answer your question - in our world you live during the night, so the characters are used to being in the dark. The shadow creeper is also a known fixture in the world - though she's not what anyone thinks. So seeing the mist, means seeing her. Hopefully that will come across in the remaining chapter, and the next. Is it something that needs clarity from the get-go to make it readable?


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Corky
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quote:
I wondered if the Shadow Creeper, the undead-beasty-who-gobbles-up-kids-in-the-night, could kill me in a dream. Or did I have to be awake?

This works to clarify the setting (a dream--good thing you are making that clear as soon as possible), but I think the appositive (or whatever it's called) inside the commas after "Shadow Creeper" is just too much.

How about something like

quote:
I wondered if the Shadow Creeper could gobble me up in a dream. Or did I have to be awake?

Another question: why would they live in the night/dark where there are things that gobble-kids-up? If they live in the night/dark, wouldn't the "bogeyman" be something from the day/light?


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WouldBe
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I like this. I agree with Corky that the mega-hyphenated description is over the top. Maybe: kid-gobbling undead beasty or kid-gobbling-undead-beasty. It's established that it's nighttime.

Consider deleting "weird" since you're describing the weirdness and don't need that editorial.

Maybe you can find some economical way to get across that night lurking is normal. Or did I have to be awake in our night world. I don't particularly like my example, but maybe it gets my point across.

Maybe it's time to post a complete new version in your first post. It's getting hard to tell what's still in the opening, like the original third paragraph.

Good luck with it.


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Amanda1199
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I reposted with a new version per the forum directions, but I must be missing something - because I didn't see where I can edit the thread topic to say it's been revised?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Amanda1199, you just say that you've revised the first 13 in your next post (at the bottom of the topic). Those who are following this topic will know to scroll back up and see it. Those who start the topic fresh will probably see it when they read the first message.

The way this forum is set up, I'm the only one who can edit the topic titles.


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Amanda1199
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Thanks for clarifying Kathleen.
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