250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by dios4vida » August 8th, 2011, 3:06 pm

Neil Larkins wrote:
dios4vida wrote:Neil - Your story broke my heart a little bit. To love and loose is a terrible thing (coincidentally, I know that all to intimately, and my story involves a man named Neil...). To tell Theresa's story this way seems like a beautiful way to remember and honor her. Best of luck to you.
Thanks, dios4vida. Hmm. (What a coincidence, considering that Neil and that spelling is not the most common of names.)
How Teresa and I met is a better love story than the "Love Story" movie could have ever hoped to be. (Coincidentally, don't we have another "neil" in there, Ryan O'Neil?) I've wanted to tell that tale for years but find it exceedingly difficult...but not for the reason you might think. Yes, working on it has me emotionally charged, but getting down on paper how it really felt, without becoming maudlin and gushy and whatever negative else it could turn out to be is the hard part.
Now I have to look back through the forum and see what you've written other than comments. (Sad to admit I haven't already done that.) I'm assuming you've submitted something...
Yeah, it's hard to write something that's so close to you emotionally without it being sappy. I've incorporated my past into my writing, not quite the same way you have (in your altered biography) but I do make my characters suffer and hurt the way I have. When you do find the right words to make it what you want it to be, there's no better feeling in the world.

Oh, and I did submit my 250. I think mine's the second post. If you feel like giving me a review, I'd be more than happy to hear your opinion! :D
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Neil Larkins » August 8th, 2011, 4:47 pm

dios4vida wrote:I'll play. ;) (Incidentally, this is the WIP that I need some help with my tag line on - if anyone has any input, the thread's here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4027. Thanks!)

---

I know the statue’s supposed to symbolize the spirit of the Cairumen people, but it looks like a squashed toad to me. I don’t know what the artist was thinking. They carved this monstrosity from the stone of the Underground and set it in the middle of town like it’s a great tribute to our people. The others love it, but I can’t see past the squashed toad.

I hope that’s not what we’re really like inside. Sure, the Cairumen can be a depressing, bitter, angry people, but I’d like to think there’s at least something noble inside of us. It’s like our caves – the Underground where we live. They’re infested with trolls and the walls drip with moldy water, but there’s a lot of good down here, too. There’s…uh…

Okay, so the others say there’s a lot of good down here. Personally, I don’t see it. The Underground is the prison of the Cairumen, nothing more. It’s not really a prison, but it feels that way to me. Cairumen don’t leave and the Ivalas don’t come down here. Why would they? They live on the surface with a real sky and sun and plants. Luxuries like that don’t exist down here. Our world is made of stalactites, red bricks, and conjured lights.

And lately it’s gotten even worse. People have started disappearing. I don’t think there’s a single Cairumen who hasn’t lost someone they love. It’s taken a dank and dreary place like the Underground and turned it into the worst place in the world to be.
Hey, I found it: the second one and had forgotten I'd read it!
Pulls me right in with the personal experience angle. You the narrator are one of the Cairumen. That "squashed toad" is fun as is the "conjured light" image and I'd like to know who conjures it. The Cairumen? Who? Best of all, there is a mystery and one that needs to be solved.
Thanks for letting us see it.

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Neil Larkins » August 8th, 2011, 4:54 pm

dios4vida wrote:
Neil Larkins wrote:
dios4vida wrote:Neil - Your story broke my heart a little bit. To love and loose is a terrible thing (coincidentally, I know that all to intimately, and my story involves a man named Neil...). To tell Theresa's story this way seems like a beautiful way to remember and honor her. Best of luck to you.
Thanks, dios4vida. Hmm. (What a coincidence, considering that Neil and that spelling is not the most common of names.)
How Teresa and I met is a better love story than the "Love Story" movie could have ever hoped to be. (Coincidentally, don't we have another "neil" in there, Ryan O'Neil?) I've wanted to tell that tale for years but find it exceedingly difficult...but not for the reason you might think. Yes, working on it has me emotionally charged, but getting down on paper how it really felt, without becoming maudlin and gushy and whatever negative else it could turn out to be is the hard part.
Now I have to look back through the forum and see what you've written other than comments. (Sad to admit I haven't already done that.) I'm assuming you've submitted something...
Yeah, it's hard to write something that's so close to you emotionally without it being sappy. I've incorporated my past into my writing, not quite the same way you have (in your altered biography) but I do make my characters suffer and hurt the way I have. When you do find the right words to make it what you want it to be, there's no better feeling in the world.

Oh, and I did submit my 250. I think mine's the second post. If you feel like giving me a review, I'd be more than happy to hear your opinion! :D
Yes, as you can see by my above review, I did find it. (I was composing while you were posting.) Yes, I think the best work, whether fantasy or biography will be that which is based on personal experience. Just my opinion, sure, but it's what I do and I think that nearly everyone does to some extent. Fantasy helps us to work through our past(s) and get them into perspective...hopefully. Gotta go for now. Thanks.

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by dios4vida » August 8th, 2011, 5:39 pm

Neil Larkins wrote:Pulls me right in with the personal experience angle. You the narrator are one of the Cairumen. That "squashed toad" is fun as is the "conjured light" image and I'd like to know who conjures it. The Cairumen? Who? Best of all, there is a mystery and one that needs to be solved.
Thanks for letting us see it.
Thanks, Neil. That's exactly what I was hoping for. :)
Neil Larkins wrote:Yes, I think the best work, whether fantasy or biography will be that which is based on personal experience. Just my opinion, sure, but it's what I do and I think that nearly everyone does to some extent. Fantasy helps us to work through our past(s) and get them into perspective...hopefully.
Couldn't agree more.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by AveryMarsh » August 10th, 2011, 4:04 pm

I am so behind *shakes fists at July and August NaNos*... but here goes *takes a deep breath*:

CharleeVale: You have such a way with visuals, taking me right there in the room with them, but there were bits that reminded me a little too much of the opening of Matched, which I think someone else may have mentioned, but really it's my only issue with it. When I read further on the longer version posted elsewhere on the forum, the differences stood out and made me want to keep reading. Very cool idea.

Collectonian: I can relate to your protagonist, but I agree with the other critiques. And I know what you mean about editing first chapters to death. I can't stop! ;) The pressure of getting it perfect can be overwhelming.

AnimaDictio: Thanks for such a helpful critique. I can do better! I promise! ;) I'm drawn into the world you describe in your story's beginning. The first few lines threw me off as I wondered whether Keturah was a horse or a dragon, but I appreciated her more as I read on. I love strong female characters. ;)

glj: Hilarious premise. I think your character could probably think some of the things he says instead, making the scene more believable. (I know his grandpa's old and all, but does he really have to remind him how old he is? And if so, why?) I'd like to get more of a sense of who he is, and what opinions he'd be too afraid to share with his grandfather, because they have the potential to be such an interesting duo.

wordranger: I like the tone and the conflict sounds compelling. The only thing that stood out was the line about him not really listening right before all of the things he listened to. A simple sentence change to something like he wasn't really listening but little snippets caught his attention, something about the totalitarian government on the Rorian moon, blah, blah, blah. But seriously... what is going on with the Rorian moon? Now I'm curious. ;)

Watcher55: Your opening paragraph rewards the patient reader with awesomeness. You could've slammed us with the second paragraph first, but I like that you start with a strong ethereal visual and end in aburpt hilarity. The second paragraph is a little jumpy, but the idea is original and entertaining.

Cookie: It piqued my curiosity, but the bouncing from character to character without any real sense of the protagonist was a little confusing. As a former avid tantrum thrower, there's something so endearing about Yaten. And thanks for the comment. :)

ladymarella: The first line of the letter is a bit jarring once you learn it's a wife speaking of her husband's demise, and to his brother no less. But maybe that's the kind of person she is--not one to soften the blow. It sounds intriguing, none-the-less. And even though it doesn't seem like my preferred genre, I'd keep reading.

meganstirler: I absolutely loved the first paragraph, but the suspense kind of died down in the second. It's not bad, I just think it could be moved further down. I want him/her to keep venturing further, to describe more about the surroundings and what they fear is lurking around them.

Sommer Leigh: I. Love. It. I do wish there was a little more of your character's POV in the first paragraph, but... wow.

sierramcconnell: Ok, this is the most spectacularly out there thing I've read in a while and that alone compells me to continue. Love your voice. Your characters and their world sound fascinating. And your talent for writing really shows.

cheekychook: I know I need to stop gushing and be a more productive critiquer, but it's absolutely fantastic. So funny. So well written.

Writercastlesinthesky: Thank you so much. And you're right about needing to address the classmates. ;) I shall get on that... uh... almost immediately. How many more of these things do I have left?

trixie: The first three paragraphs were my favorite. I had a sense of Jo's personality right away. But after that, I felt a little starved of the character I'd come to like just a few lines before. I wanted to hear her conversing with the customers or interacting in some other way before the exposition of the store and all that.

Aimee: The setting pulls me into the story. I want to know why he's in the closet. But I wish I could hear more of what he's thinking in relation to the scene. Maybe a quick internal grumble about his hair before moving on to more suspense/action. And yes, wavy like Russell Brand is definitely sexier than curly like Weird Al or Kenny G, which is where my mind went.

oldhousejunkie: You managed to pack so much of your character and her voice, her settings, and conflict into such a tight (well written) spot.

KyleS: The world you have created and the backstory are enchanting, but when I'm reading YA, I prefer more action/interaction at the get go. If I'm transported to a magical kingdom, the first thing I'm going to do is get up and wander around, while at the same time wondering how I got there... not necessarily lay there thinking about stories about my dad and all that, which is great and well written, but maybe fits better further in the chapter.

sladuke: I'm finding myself comparing it to Percy Jackson (maybe because I rereading the Lightning Thief). In the first chapter, Rick Riordan begins with Percy's warning about being a half-blood and then leads into Grover getting picked on. I bring this up because with your opening, I want to like the character, but I don't know enough about him. He gets picked on, but why? I think the description of torment could be condensed somewhat to give more room to hook the reader with your character, his world and the reason behind his struggle.

Babs in Paradise: Poignant scene, wonderfully written, but a few things jump out at me. Who asks if she's ready? Who say's Aqua let me? O-she? I assume it's her father and O-she is Oceanna's nickname, but only after rereading a couple times.

polymath: No words. Well... except those. And these. *bows*

Neil Larkin: Nice introduction to your characters voice and inner/outer struggles, but I think some of the exposition could've been added in later. The scene is relatable and enlightening at the same time, the suspense draws me in, and I enjoy your writing style.

charlotte49ers: I thoroughly enjoyed everything about your opening. Two thumbs up.

Seph800BC: A very attention grabbing, scene/character/struggle defining beginning. Just two little nitpicks. I feel like the second line is overwritten considering the immediacy of the scene. Do we need to know that the parking lot is hard packed dirt? And shot a mercury filled shot sounds redundant. Blasted a shot, fired a shot, unloaded a shot, etc. might sound better. Otherwise, considered me pulled in.

Phew. That took... *looks at the clock* all freaking day. But! I'm caught up. More please!

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by sierramcconnell » August 10th, 2011, 4:26 pm

AveryMarsh wrote:sierramcconnell: Ok, this is the most spectacularly out there thing I've read in a while and that alone compells me to continue. Love your voice. Your characters and their world sound fascinating. And your talent for writing really shows.
I really needed that today. Not that I'm having an off-writing day, just a general bored day. And bored days are bad days because I get so listless. So thanks! It means a lot to me! [really wants to print it out for the wall like the random Chinese fortune cookie scrolls]
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by polymath » August 10th, 2011, 5:38 pm

Thank you, AveryMarsh. Curtsies.
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by AveryMarsh » August 10th, 2011, 6:53 pm

sierramcconnell and polymath: :D

I'm having one of those days where I wish my manuscripts were printed out so I could throw them against the wall, the little nasties.

Which brings me to an incredibly selfish question. What if we have multiple WIPs? Because I'd love some input on a rewritten to death new beginning to last years NaNo novel. :?

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by polymath » August 10th, 2011, 7:13 pm

AveryMarsh wrote:Which brings me to an incredibly selfish question. What if we have multiple WIPs? Because I'd love some input on a rewritten to death new beginning to last years NaNo novel. :?
Post away. Here or try the feedback forums for potentially more in-depth commentary.
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by AveryMarsh » August 10th, 2011, 8:47 pm

Well, here goes nothing. This is my baby. Rip her to shreds while I cower over there in the corner.
________________________________________________________

Anika twirled her labret between the fingers of her barcoded hand. Through the passenger window, she scanned the area, noting the number of guards, their weapons, the distance between the car and the nearest row of buildings that she might be able to run to in case any problems arose. If there was anything she hated more than the Guardians, it was being unprepared. Yet, here she was, the furthest from the school she’d ever traveled, rolling toward the checkpoint in a sedan with a relative stranger, and without any clue where she was going or who needed her services. This wasn’t how she envisioned starting her first case. In the dark.

The driver, Teresa Mendez, kept glancing at the clock on the dash.

“Will they even let me out of the city?” Anika asked.

“As long as you’re with me, you should be alright.” Teri’s voice wavered. “Just to be safe, let me do the talking.”

Hidden under wedges of black hair, Anika’s eyes rolled. Teri was afraid of her mouth. As if she didn’t know when to keep it in check.

The sedan lurched to a stop within spitting distance of the two story, razor topped wall. Anika never imagined getting this close to it, let alone going through it. The guards waved them forward, the same black clad Seekers that roamed the streets of the capital city on a daily basis. One watched from a little building while another walked toward them with a hand resting on his holstered sidearm.

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by polymath » August 10th, 2011, 10:14 pm

Good mechanical style, AveryMarsh. Fair craft, there's causal flow, some building tension, curiosity for sure, not so much empathy, and a dramatic question or two artfully posed for suspense purposes. Voice I feel is not so well developed. I see so much of voice shortcomings it breaks my heart. serriamcconnell's excerpt has voice in trumps, that, to me, is its strength.

It's not reporting sensations, per se, that happen that make for show trumping tell context, it's their emotional meanings to the attitude holder, in many cases a narrator, or a viewpoint character, who's expressing commentary that makes up the emotional context of voice. The emotional attitude of an attitude holder of a scene expressing commentary about what he or she or it senses volitionally or nonvolitionally. That's what gives context emotional meaning readers can access for closing into otherwise blasé settings, plots, ideas, characters, events, and discourses. It's what artfully closes narrative distance.

"Anika twirled her labret between the fingers of her barcoded hand." That's a narrator's recital of bare details, a tell in my estimation. Nothing about what the labret nor the barcoded hand emotionally mean to Anika personally. Twirled in that context seems an absentminded nonvolitional act that's supposed to mean volumes emotionally. And it's once and done over with and on to the next sensation without causing an emotional response for Anika, no effect nor reaction to it, and more significantly, not much for readers to grasp emotionally. It stands alone without context and causation. There are some meaningful emotional contexts hidden there, that are probably part of what they mean to the creative vision, but not realized on the page. Sure, a lip ring and a barcoded hand suggest Anika's someone's property, but therein is their unrealized emotional meanings, which if Anika reacted to them as such, they would be artful show and not recital of disjointed details.
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by sierramcconnell » August 10th, 2011, 10:23 pm

AveryMarsh wrote:Well, here goes nothing. This is my baby. Rip her to shreds while I cower over there in the corner.
________________________________________________________

Anika twirled her labret between the fingers of her barcoded hand. Through the passenger window, she scanned the area, noting the number of guards, their weapons, the distance between the car and the nearest row of buildings that she might be able to run to in case any problems arose. If there was anything she hated more than the Guardians, it was being unprepared. Yet, here she was, the furthest from the school she’d ever traveled, rolling toward the checkpoint in a sedan with a relative stranger, and without any clue where she was going or who needed her services. This wasn’t how she envisioned starting her first case. In the dark.

The driver, Teresa Mendez, kept glancing at the clock on the dash.

“Will they even let me out of the city?” Anika asked.

“As long as you’re with me, you should be alright.” Teri’s voice wavered. “Just to be safe, let me do the talking.”

Hidden under wedges of black hair, Anika’s eyes rolled. Teri was afraid of her mouth. As if she didn’t know when to keep it in check.

The sedan lurched to a stop within spitting distance of the two story, razor topped wall. Anika never imagined getting this close to it, let alone going through it. The guards waved them forward, the same black clad Seekers that roamed the streets of the capital city on a daily basis. One watched from a little building while another walked toward them with a hand resting on his holstered sidearm.
As an opening, I actually like this line better, because it sounds more opening-y:

The driver, Teresa Mendez, kept glancing at the clock on the dash.

You're thrust into the world, into a car, with a sense that the driver is nervous. That means there's some tension there.

I like this line, because it shows a lot of the character's thoughts and emotions:

Teri was afraid of her mouth. As if she didn’t know when to keep it in check.

Overall, it's good, a little...unflowy to me at times, but I think it's because I don't know all the terms yet. It makes me feel a little confused. I'm sure some of it would have been explained on the blurb, but maybe not. A little more background, some more thoughts in the character might help with that.
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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Watcher55 » August 10th, 2011, 11:34 pm

AveryMarsh wrote:Well, here goes nothing. This is my baby. Rip her to shreds while I cower over there in the corner.
________________________________________________________

Anika twirled her labret between the fingers of her barcoded hand. Through the passenger window, she scanned the area, noting the number of guards, their weapons, the distance between the car and the nearest row of buildings that she might be able to run to in case any problems arose. If there was anything she hated more than the Guardians, it was being unprepared. Yet, here she was, the furthest from the school she’d ever traveled, rolling toward the checkpoint in a sedan with a relative stranger, and without any clue where she was going or who needed her services. This wasn’t how she envisioned starting her first case. In the dark.

The driver, Teresa Mendez, kept glancing at the clock on the dash.

“Will they even let me out of the city?” Anika asked.

“As long as you’re with me, you should be alright.” Teri’s voice wavered. “Just to be safe, let me do the talking.”

Hidden under wedges of black hair, Anika’s eyes rolled. Teri was afraid of her mouth. As if she didn’t know when to keep it in check.

The sedan lurched to a stop within spitting distance of the two story, razor topped wall. Anika never imagined getting this close to it, let alone going through it. The guards waved them forward, the same black clad Seekers that roamed the streets of the capital city on a daily basis. One watched from a little building while another walked toward them with a hand resting on his holstered sidearm.
Overall it's good, but I wonder if you use more words than you need. For example, instead of:
"and the nearestrow of buildings that she might be able to run to in case any problems arose."

How about:
"and a row of buildings that she might (should?) be able to run to."

"streets of the capital city on a daily basis."

Less is more especially if you want to paint a picture of anxiety.

Where you refer to, "who needed her services." It seems like you missed a chance to reveal something about more about the society. What does Anika call someone who needs her services - someone who lives outside the ghetto? Client, City Dweller, Overlord...?

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by Neil Larkins » August 10th, 2011, 11:49 pm

AveryMarsh wrote:Neil Larkin: Nice introduction to your characters voice and inner/outer struggles, but I think some of the exposition could've been added in later. The scene is relatable and enlightening at the same time, the suspense draws me in, and I enjoy your writing style.
Thanks, Avery. When to add exposition and how much is a problem of mine. But I'm a-learning. Appreciate you!

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Re: 250 Word Sharathon--post the opening of your WIP

Post by ladymarella » August 11th, 2011, 2:39 am

AveryMarsh wrote:ladymarella: The first line of the letter is a bit jarring once you learn it's a wife speaking of her husband's demise, and to his brother no less. But maybe that's the kind of person she is--not one to soften the blow. It sounds intriguing, none-the-less. And even though it doesn't seem like my preferred genre, I'd keep reading.
Thanks for the nice feedback. I wrote to be jarring, and it is the kind of person she is. When I think of Charlotte Wedgwood the first thing that comes to mind is "manipulative, bitchy matriarch".
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