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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » First 13. Fantasy / Steam Punk / Magic

   
Author Topic: First 13. Fantasy / Steam Punk / Magic
RSHACK
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It's been a while since I have been on here, or done any writting. I've been touring with my band and haven't found as much time as I would like so I set aside the novel I was writing at the time. Here is the start of the novel I would like to pick up again. I've got a few chapters, but would like to start fresh with new input. The style is similar to Harry Potter, but with more of a Tim Burton vibe. Most likely for early teens. All in put welcomed [Smile] It's good to be back on here:)
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A tall, thin man holding a briefcase stood at the top of the hill that overlooked Bonecrook's Orphanage. The clouds overhead rumbled in the distance as they announced the approaching storm, but this did not bother the stranger. The collar of his black pea coat was turned up and its double breasted fronts were tightly buttoned against the night's glacial wind. Like a hungry vulture, he watched the grim fated orphanage and the single light that shone feebly from one of its many rooms. He could not make his move until that light went out and all the children had gone to sleep.
The man's posture had grown stiff in the cold and a muscle twitched in his leg, yet he remained completely still. He ignored its protest, never once taking his eyes off of the old

[ November 19, 2011, 09:44 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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C@R3Y
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I like the style and the detail, and I'm left wondering who is this man, and what he plans on doing in the Orphanage. The set up is nicely descriptive, too.

I like your sentence "Like a hungry vulture, etc..." But I think you can cut "freebly" out. Also, I wonder, if a muscle twitched in his leg, wouldn't his leg move involuntarily? Following that sentence, it said "yet remained completely still"? Did his leg move without realizing it? The way it's set up, I picture his leg actually twitching, but then it says his leg was completely still.

The last line stumped me. "Fearing the worst, the worried briefcase in his hand shook vigorously." Firstly, why is he "fearing the worst"? I don't think you gave any indication previously that he had something to fear. Secondly, "worried briefcase". I don't think you need "worried" in there.

Now, I wonder, "fearing the worst" could mean that he is afraid of what might happen when he approaches the Orphanage, but that's just a guess. I don't think you made it very clear.

Anyway, hope this helps a little. x]

Carey

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RSHACK
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Thank you, C@R3Y. I will play around with the leg twitching part, it's something I hadn't thought of, because visually his leg WOULD move if it had twitched and that's no bueno.

It's the briefcase that is fearing the worst, thinking that the man had died standing there. The next two sentences makes it clear that the briefcase is a character that has emotions etc.
I'll also play around with that if I get more people that point that out also. No good for people to be confused!

Thank you so much [Smile]

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History
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I like this. The scene is well set. The character introduced and ominous (vulture threatening the orphans [Smile] ), the mood is anticipatory (calm before the storm, both in weather and hint of conflict to come).

My nitpicks:
--"grim fated orphanage" doesn't work for me. It's a little too much. If you wish an adjective, I'd prefer one descriptive of the orphanage itself--how it looks to him structurally (stone, brick? soot-stained?) or professionally (walled, barred windows, roof balustrade--i.e. things he considers in planning his entry).
--"He could not make his move until that light went out and all the children had gone to sleep."
This doesn't need to be stated. We know he is waiting. Have the light go out and then have him move. These two actions are more effective writing (by showing and not telling).

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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EmilyS
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I really like the way you set the scene.

However, the POV threw me a little–are you trying for omniscient? Because it seems to bounce back and forth between describing the man from the outside (and calling him "the stranger", which is definitely outside his POV) and getting into his thoughts/emotions.

One other nit: clouds rumbling in the distance sounds like a storm on the horizon, but you say the clouds are overhead.

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RSHACK
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History -

Rereading it, I find that I agree with you. I can find a better adjective that describes the orphanage itself, rather than try to set the mood more.

EmilyS -

I tried to stand off a little on the POV due to the fact that the main character is the orphan in the orphanage. I didn't want to eneter to much into this man's POV in fear of revealing to much of his motives, which would steal away from the unraveling of the plot in the next chapeter.
Brilliant catch on the clouds ... I would have missed that even reading it a hundred times!

Cheers!

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Denevius
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i think there's too many words in this beginning making it a bit dense. definitely too many descriptions coming all at once. if you have a chapter you want read, i'm game, however.
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RSHACK
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Denevius - Sorry it took so long to respond. I would gladly send you the first chapter if you are still interested.

If there is anybody else also interested in reading my first chapter,I will be glad to send it out. [Smile]

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