Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Quinn's Law: Skin Deep

   
Author Topic: Quinn's Law: Skin Deep
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love the theatre – I've grown up in it. My mom is the famous stage actress, Sophie Stark, and my dad, Tom Stark, writes and directs plays. My mom is Broadway, and my dad is mostly off-Broadway. Sometimes my mom stars in one of my dad's plays, and they argue about everything. Which is totally okay, because it keeps them from arguing about me.
I'm Quinn Stark, nobody.
Maybe that's why I didn't take things seriously until it was almost too late – first of all, like I said, I'm a nobody. Nothing ever happens to me. And, secondly, when everything around you is pretend, it's hard to take real danger seriously, even when it was staring me right in the face. I guess part of me just thought that when things got too bad, the curtain would

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 01, 2010).]


Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey, debhoag! Welcome back.
Posts: 7817 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thank you, ma'am! got stuck on an opening, and couldn't think of a better place to work the kinks out! Seeing a lot of new names here - along with a few folks I've traded crits with in the past. Have a Nano going this year?
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WouldBe
Member
Member # 5682

 - posted      Profile for WouldBe   Email WouldBe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Howdy, Deb,

I like it. Maybe it could be shortened slightly so that the line about the curtain (closing, I assume), makes it back in. (Or send Kathleen 50 bucks to put it back.)

Maybe trimming out the 'First of all, like I said' and 'secondly' would make enough room to put it back in.

Otherwise, I think the setting and curtain-closing metaphor is hook-y.


Posts: 746 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RoxyL
Member
Member # 9096

 - posted      Profile for RoxyL           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I really am intrigued by this idea. The line ‘when everything around you is pretend, it’s hard to take real danger seriously’ is a great hook. There’s been some discussion about using a punchy first line, and that would make a great one. As an alternative, I also loved the line, ‘I’m Quinn Stark and I’m nobody.’ Maybe think about starting there, for instance:

I’m Quinn Stark and I’m nobody. My mom, Sophie is a famous Broadway stage actress and my dad, Tom, writes and directs off-Broadway plays. Me, I spend my time lurking around the sets. Sometimes Mom stars in one of Dad’s plays and then they spend their time arguing about everything. Which is totally okay, because it keeps them from arguing about me.

I’d be interested in reading more.


Posts: 262 | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Kathleen's just so hard to bribe, I'll probably have to do it the old fashioned way. Sigh. Edit it is.
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brendan
Member
Member # 6044

 - posted      Profile for Brendan   Email Brendan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Deb, great to see you back. I've always enjoyed reading your work.

I wasn't too fussed about the opening paragraph - it didn't really grab me. Neither did the reference to Quinn being nobody. But the line "when everything around you is pretend, it's hard to take real danger seriously" did hook me. I'd suggest this line as the opening. It gives a context within which to interpret the importance of her parents' relationship.

Other than that, it didn't give much about where this story is going. However, being a novel, this isn't as big a problem as it would be for a short.


Posts: 757 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi debhoag, I liked this opening. The only issue for me is the scene setting seems to have a great pace, pause and gather itself up at Maybe that's why I didn't take things seriously until it was almost too late, as if it's taking a breath, ready to show me what the inciting incident is, and then suddenly I feel like I'm revisiting the same thing again, defusing the tension and undermining the suspense.
Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jesse D
Member
Member # 3241

 - posted      Profile for Jesse D   Email Jesse D         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I love the theatre – I've grown up in it. My mom is the famous stage actress, Sophie Stark, and my dad, Tom Stark, writes and directs plays. My mom is Broadway, and my dad is mostly off-Broadway. Sometimes my mom stars in one of my dad's plays, and they argue about everything. Which is totally okay, because it keeps them from arguing about me.

Stylistically, I don't love this beginning. You're beginning with the character explaining who she and her family are. This is a novel-length work, and we have the book to get to know who they are without you telling us in the opening sentence.

quote:
I'm Quinn Stark, nobody.
Maybe that's why I didn't take things seriously until it was almost too late – first of all, like I said, I'm a nobody. Nothing ever happens to me. And, secondly, when everything around you is pretend, it's hard to take real danger seriously, even when it was staring me right in the face. I guess part of me just thought that when things got too bad, the curtain would

You've essentially said nothing here. I don't have any idea what the story is about, just that it's about theater folk. And that something happens that the MC doesn't take seriously at first.

Why don't you start with telling us what happened? Let us get to know the characters and learn from there. Show us why Quinn wouldn't have taken it seriously, and let us get to know her parents - and her - on our own, slowly.


Posts: 72 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And this is why I love posting my first 13 here - it helps me scrub away all the crud and get right to the story.
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey Deb - nice to "see" you here!

One observation for you, nothing specific but an observation. This reads like a middle-grade (grades 3-8) story. Very strong character voice, tone, and the idea of someone calling him/herself a nobody is very in line with that age range.

If you're not aiming for that market, you might want to consider... if you're aiming older, the YA readership is less likely to identify with somebody who describes him/herself as a nobody, unless we also get a sense that this is someone older, and at least somewhat independent (the many references to parents make me assume age 12 or so, which is solidly in middle-grade territory. YA starts at 14, in general.)

Just wanted you to know in case this is supposed to be some other kind of story. Looks good, though. Good luck!


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, KayTi. At the moment, I'm aiming loosely at the young end of the YA market, with a character who's about sixteen.
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
shimiqua
Member
Member # 7760

 - posted      Profile for shimiqua   Email shimiqua         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tiny nit( this can't just be me it bugged) Tom Stark sounds a lot like Tony Stark, as in Iron Man. But that could just be me.

I really love the voice of this story, but the issue for me is that the danger isn't clear. I wonder if you changed the word "things" in 'take things seriously' to whatever it is that is threatening Quinn. Like 'Maybe that's why I didn't take zombies seriously, or magic, or child molesters, or Celine Dion...whatever the danger is. I would like a bit more clarification so I can know if I need to worry or not.

Right now, it kind of feels like an empty threat. A dang well written empty threat, but still.

Either way though, I'd keep reading.
~Sheena


Posts: 1165 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nice, Shimmy! Thank you!
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
how about something more like this?:

The sounds started out so quietly I didn't really notice them. Like paper being blown against the window, or leaves skittering across the face of the building. They hovered on the edges of my hearing, slowly getting louder over several weeks,so that I hardly even noticed them. They were just one more noise in the night that I took for granted.
Until the night before the awards show.
I bolted upright in my bed, wakened out of a sound sleep by the scraping, shuddering noise of claws desperately trying to break through the glass of my bedroom window. It had never been so loud, and now I realized the menace that was behind the sound. Even as it penetrated into my foggy brain that whatever was trying to get through the glass wanted to rip me to shreds, the sound stopped. The sudden silence made my ears ring.


Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Twiggy
Member
Member # 9209

 - posted      Profile for Twiggy   Email Twiggy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow, are you the same writer? I stopped reading half way through the first version but I loved this. There is a subtle intensity that really drew me in.

The only bit that I wasn't sure about started at "and now I realized the menace that was behind the sound."

Does the MC know what the menace is, or not? MC wonders 'whatever' it is but knows it wants to rip him/her to shreds. And, how does the main charcter know that?

I only realised that I don't know whether main MC is male or female when I tried to crit it.

I hope this is of use


Posts: 84 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
thanks, Twiggy.

Same MC, teen girl. She knows that there is menace behind the noise because it's supernatural and she gets the 'vibe', but that won't come out till later. My friend Bill, who crits all my stuff, also hated the first opening, btw. I think this one is better, too.


Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WouldBe
Member
Member # 5682

 - posted      Profile for WouldBe   Email WouldBe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I liked this one a lot more, too. Definitely engaged me more quickly. The critter is now more of a tangible menace than a noise.

Nit: you might want to check on your use of 'shuddering,' applied to the menace.


Posts: 746 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
hmmm. I meant an unsteady noise, increasing and decreasing in volume. Not clear, huh?
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WouldBe
Member
Member # 5682

 - posted      Profile for WouldBe   Email WouldBe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's clear. My bad.
Posts: 746 | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MAP
Member
Member # 8631

 - posted      Profile for MAP           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love the rewrite version. It is so much more interesting.

It also changed the entire tone of the story. The first one seemed lighter, almost comedic. This one has a much darker and creepy tone, which I find more intriguing.

I am assuming the rewrite is more indicative of the tone of the novel.


Posts: 1026 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
debhoag
Member
Member # 5493

 - posted      Profile for debhoag   Email debhoag         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm mostly knocking out the first draft - I've got the plot all outlined, so I have plenty of room for goosing the specifics.
Posts: 1304 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2