Note;; This is a first draft, nothing is set in stone, even the title. There is lots of description because this is a dystopian milieu story. Also, I'm pretty sure this is thirteen, I may have done one or two sentences more or less by mistake.
Katri trudged through the snow, the wind whipping in her face. She looked up to the dark sky. “Storm’s a comin’,” she whispered to herself. Shifting her sling bag across her shoulder, she kept climbing the white slope in front of her, like a mountain of tiny crystals. Then she reached the crest of the hill. Down in the valley below Katri was quite an interesting sight. There were tall silver poles connected together in tall shapes, hung with burgundy canvas.The canvas was stretched tight to make roofs, floors, and ceilings, each tent-building at least four floors high. There was another tent-building off to the side. Instead of the simple square shape, it was a rectangle with a single floor and a slanted roof. On the high end of slant longwise there was no wall, and one could see the sleds, harnesses, and
quote: “Storm’s a comin’,” she whispered to herself.
It’s not unusual for people to talk to themselves in certain situations; I grumble under my breath every time it rains…but only if I was going to cook out, or play street hockey, or engage in some other outdoor activity that the rain is now going to take away from me. That said…what is the snowstorm changing for Katri? Is it endangering her life in some why? Without something along those lines, this is nothing more than a description of someone walking in the snow, which in itself is not that captivating of an opening. Make the snowstorm influential in some way, and the reader might get interested much earlier.
The next paragraph is all description. No biggie…but it came across as a blur when following the previous paragraph’s description. I’m thinking that, if that previous paragraph contained some sort of weather-related conflict or issue, the following longer paragraph of descriptions would not have seemed like a blur to me. While I’m thinking of it…depending on how / if you decide to refocus the “Storm’s a comin’” paragraph, certain revisions to the following paragraph might make themselves mandatory.
Let me know if you have any questions about my suggestions.
The depth of description of the tents is out of proportion and perhaps unbalanced with the opening line: "Katri trudged through the snow, the wind whipping in her face."
The tent descriptions I would categorize as backstory without first developing the dramatic complication's texture mostly. We have context: who and where development, not so much when; but little texture, if any: what, why, and how.
This opening to me reads like a travel documentary, detailing the sights but not what they mean or why and how they matter to Katri. The snow she trudges through, for example, is she pleased or frustrated by the snow? Describing the snow using Katri's emotional attitude toward the slog would develop texture, particularly emotional texture.
This is patently a visitation shape opening. Katri is the stranger come to town for a visit. Dramatic complications of visitation scenes or wholes portray the wants and problems associated with visits, like the immediate perhaps hostility of the foreign locals, new business, so to speak. Or if the parties know each other, then their prior baggage, old business, so to speak.
Opening with Katri's attitude toward slogging through snow toward the tent valley would develop her emotional attitude toward the visitation, and set up development of the dramatic complications of a visit. Her thoughts, her visual, aural, perhaps tactile sensation perceptions, her feelings about the snow reflecting her thoughts, perceptions, and feelings about the visitation. One crucial feature is already there; that is, it's cold; hence, her reception might be cold, hostile, and alienating.
Leona12: Thank you for posting your excerpt. I need a visitation scene for my story, but it hasn't fully taken shape yet. you helped me think about it more deeply. You've got a good start on a primal setting, but I don't know or sense what Katri's problem is and what she wants, so I don't relate to her like I should.
extrinsic: thank you. fantastic. I learn so much from you.
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Thanks for your feed back guys! I see what you mean by getting how she feels about things like that and I realize that maybe I should introduce her problem earlier than like the third chapter.
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quote:Originally posted by kmsf: extrinsic: thank you. fantastic. I learn so much from you.
You're welcome, kmsf,
If you'd like to explore story shapes, like visitation, I recommend Jerome Sterne's Making Shapely Fiction. Sterne's book is a poetics text, methods and how-tos not so much, focused on conventional "shapes" of scenes and other parcels and wholes of narratives. The facade, the gathering, bear at the door (routine interrupted, generally), the explosion, the specimen: fifteen story shapes, any one or more of which one may find in almost every, if not all, published narratives and not a few struggling for publication.
The book also has "Write What You Know," though both sides of that debate, and "Don't Do This" sections, and an ample alphabet vocabulary of literature concepts and terms, like atmosphere, cliff-hanger, coincidence, and so on, plus a further reading section.
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