Author Topic: New opening scene for Winter's Bite Chapter 1, MG or early YA fantasy, 207 words  (Read 30769 times)

Wolfe

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Eavesdrop on people yourself. ;) Listen and note what catches your attention. You'll find gems. The following happened a few years ago at a restaurant. . . .

"I can't even look at you right now," the son said to his mother. He stormed out and left her, his father, and his fiancée behind.

After he left, the mother turned to the fiancée and said, "You can do better."

Not even the clatter of silverware broke the silence. After they left, everyone exploded into gossip. With one another. Complete strangers.

You want that. Years and years later, I still remember that drama and everyone's reaction. Exhausting for that family, but entertaining for everyone else.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 04:53:41 PM by Wolfe »

Max_with_word_processor

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Eavesdrop on people yourself. ;) Listen and note what catches your attention. You'll find gems.

Excellent tip. Sometimes when I'm talking to someone at work I make a mental note of their voice and words and think, I'll use that.

Artemis Quark

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I noticed the year 1620 and allowed 100 years per generation. The thing that left me questioning is the fact that a generation does not actually equal 100 years. The mother driving a car put it in the 1900 era, but still left a wide time span.

Or perhaps I wasn't sure because I so often place my stories in the distant past and having been taking a break from writing shortly before I read your latest rewrite, I was still living in the bast in my head.  ;)

I'll have to watch that.  
I checked online what number of years is considered a 'generation' and found 25, 30, 50 and 100.

I used sixteen ancestors assuming Aramethea was the oldest survivor of the Mayflower crossing, say she was 60-ish in 1620 and brought a teenaged daughter with her. If that daughter had a child by 1630, add fourteen more generations with average length of 25 years totals 360 years from 1620. Four centuries rolls off the tongue more smoothly than three hundred and sixty. I used 25 since each woman in the matriarchal lineage (I have to use words more appropriate for a twelve year old - see Hilly's comment above) likely had a female child in her early to mid twenties.

Of course, children died young during colonial times and women had children later than mid-twenties in the last century. It averages out. But this is getting too complicated. The purpose of including reference to the MC's lineage was to establish a long line of witches since the days of the Pilgrims on Cape Cod. Presenting it with 'mysterious' or 'olde' language was designed to set a tone. Perhaps I failed and simply confused.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  ;D  Just kidding. I see that I still have some work to do establishing the time period early on.

Thanks for picking up on this detail.

AQ
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 02:16:50 PM by Artemis Quark »

Artemis Quark

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Quality trumps quantity as far as chapter length. It's not too short, but it didn't tempt me to read more. Despite the hook, the dialogue stopped me from wanting more. It's wooden and reads like an information dump in disguise.

Let me offer some tips.

1. Don't put names in dialogue unless it's to emphasize a point. People don't do it, but for some reason writers do. It's unnatural and a cheap trick. Authors use it to identify characters for the reader. Don't do it.

2. When you edit, read only the dialogue aloud. Can it stand on its own as far as story? If not, it fails. If you stumble, or change words as you read it, edit the sentences into what you read aloud.

3. Do you read each character's lines with the same voice? If so, the character is also wooden and lacks individuality. Every character must standout and read unique.

4. Have the chapter read back to you via a text-to-speech program. I recommend Google's SpeakIt! If the read-back sounds mechanical, you've got a problem. When the machine's read-back sounds natural, despite the program's mechanical nature, it'll sound like aces when a professional reader or actor reads it.

5. If strangers heard your dialogue in a restaurant, would they stop eating and eavesdrop? This is the biggest test. And it's also why dialogue must carry conflict. If it's conversation, people will ignore it. If it's dialogue, people drop everything and eavesdrop. Tension is key. Remember that.

Hope these helped.

Edit:
This. I would've sworn this was fantasy or at least took place a few centuries ago. The names and, again dialogue, emphasize this point. It needs a lot of work if your setting is modern or aimed at Young Adult.

Much to ponder. As I rewrite, the muse is whispering in olde English. Or at least olde New English spake on Cape Cod.  :)
The energy I feel when writing the witchy, ancient lore parts is at the highest level. I should take the hint. At this stage, I will just write it (again) and let the words lead me. Thanks again Wolfe and Hilly.

hillwalker3000

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Much to ponder. As I rewrite, the muse is whispering in olde English. Or at least olde New English spake on Cape Cod.  :)

You need to give your muse a strict talking to. Watch contemporary teen TV. Train your ear to pick up the rhythm of their speech. Look at using some of the language they use (without tying it too closely to a set generation that can end up sounding even more dated than Olde English).

A contemporary witching story with links to the Pilgrim Fathers sounds a fascinating field to explore. Mixing ancient magickal skills with present-day insecurities and teenage angst - how original.


Keep going.

H3K

Artemis Quark

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You need to give your muse a strict talking to. Watch contemporary teen TV. Train your ear to pick up the rhythm of their speech. Look at using some of the language they use (without tying it too closely to a set generation that can end up sounding even more dated than Olde English).

A contemporary witching story with links to the Pilgrim Fathers sounds a fascinating field to explore. Mixing ancient magickal skills with present-day insecurities and teenage angst - how original.


Keep going.

H3K
I'll tune into MTV and the Disney Channel here. I've been reading YA book reviews on Goodreads written by teen reviewers. Picking up some of their slang.

Thanks for the encouraging word about the story idea. It wasn't sarcasm was it? Or am I too dense to realize it?

About a week ago in a reply to one of Clarius' posts I described the origin of the story.
(http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=53716.msg991255#msg991255)

My initial idea for the story evolved from a photograph of an icicle taken during a particularly cold winter on Cape Cod a few years ago. The stark background (and yes the weather) inspired me to write a short verse.

Oh glistening shard of Winter's Bite
Icy tooth from coldest night
Sharpened tip piercing dark to light
Bring sunshine warmth to air at dawn
Rising heat until you're gone.

The image and verse were combined to create a book cover. Cart before the horse, but the story followed, including the Wiccan slant, since the verse sounded like a witch's enchantment. Funny where inspiration is born.

AQ


hillwalker3000

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No no no. I wasn't being sarcastic. I'd never do that even by PM.

H

Artemis Quark

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No no no. I wasn't being sarcastic. I'd never do that even by PM.

H
That's a relief. I do appreciate your advice and look forward to more.

AQ

Artemis Quark

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I noticed the year 1620 and allowed 100 years per generation. The thing that left me questioning is the fact that a generation does not actually equal 100 years. The mother driving a car put it in the 1900 era, but still left a wide time span.

Or perhaps I wasn't sure because I so often place my stories in the distant past and having been taking a break from writing shortly before I read your latest rewrite, I was still living in the bast in my head.  ;)

I'll have to watch that.   
Hi Alice,
I have come up with a simpler solution to the dates-generation calculation confusion. Remove the dates and the number of generations. There were still too many numbers.

Pale Writer offered some helpful advice when I asked him about filter words that triggered this edit. The result is a new first paragraph that stays on point, setting up the rest of the chapter that amplifies reader empathy for the sisters that are experiencing loss, grief and fear of what lies in the future. The backstory about who her ancestors were does not belong here.

Here is the new paragraph. I'm taking more time to learn what I need to do with the weak, unmatched dialogue.

Carnelian stood before the crypt. Names of ancestors spanning four centuries were carved in the granite. Her fingers traced down to the last name. It was freshly cut.

AQ

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Good for you Artemis, it's sometimes hard when we're in the midst of writing the story, or even editing it for the third or fourth time to pick up on something we need to change.

Just happened to me today, switched POV for one short paragraph.

Thanks to a good beta reader it was pointed out to me, so will now be fixed.  ;)

I know the old saying is "You can't see the forest for the trees."  But as writers, we need to see the trees and not focus on the forest at times.  ;)
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Artemis Quark

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Good for you Artemis, it's sometimes hard when we're in the midst of writing the story, or even editing it for the third or fourth time to pick up on something we need to change.

Just happened to me today, switched POV for one short paragraph.

Thanks to a good beta reader it was pointed out to me, so will now be fixed.  ;)

I know the old saying is "You can't see the forest for the trees."  But as writers, we need to see the trees and not focus on the forest at times.  ;)
Yeah, but you haven't seen my new chainsaw.  ;D  You can call me Jason. Now where are those darlings that need some attention?

Seriously, I do appreciate your feedback and support.

AQ