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WHEN SHADOWS REFUSE TO FADE (Ya Fantasy) First 250


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#1 ALNoelle

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 12:01 PM

**DISCLAIMER** This excerpt is 270 words, because I don't know where to cut!!! HALP! :)

 

Any critique is much appreciated! This is the opening of my MS, and it's slightly over 250 (270 I think). I'm heading to a writer's conference in April, and they'll be critiquing our first 250 live, so A) I don't want this to be terrible and B) I need to cut another 20 words to get it in compliance. I want to fit all of the below in the 250, so I'm not sure where to start trimming away. I'm happy to reciprocate!  

 

 

 

Failure sucks. But the fear of failure? I think I'd have more fun dying. Tonight we'll be hunting Shadows for the first time, and already that fear is pressing in on me.

 

            The neckline on my tank tightens, and I tug it to breathe. A curled blade of bear grass scratches the underside of my leg, and I snap it off, then turn it in my fingers. Moisture seeps from the serrated edge.

Luke will slay, no doubt. He'll earn his bands and join the Guard, and I'll be left to slowly die from the inside out, like this piece of grass.

 

Because you ripped it from the roots like they did to you.

 

My cheeks flush, and suddenly the blade is limp and lifeless, death against my skin. I flick my eyes to the high school across the street, then peek over my shoulder, beyond the Desert Willow I'm sitting against. Everything's silent. I snap my fingers, summoning the Light. An orb engulfs my palm, and when it burns white, I beckon the power of Protection. A blazing ball of fire consumes the orb, snuffing the blade from existence. When the flames die, I extinguish the Light and fling the specks of ash into the stifling breeze.

 

I pray the Guard will be as kind if I fail.

 

I mean, it's not like I'm not trying. I'm stronger than half my class (well maybe a quarter, but I can still hang) and I'm definitely the fastest. But it won't matter, because when you're a chicken-shit, speed is merely an accomplice to running away. If I were slower, maybe Dad would still be alive.



#2 Dianam

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:03 PM

**DISCLAIMER** This excerpt is 270 words, because I don't know where to cut!!! HALP! :)

 

Any critique is much appreciated! This is the opening of my MS, and it's slightly over 250 (270 I think). I'm heading to a writer's conference in April, and they'll be critiquing our first 250 live, so A) I don't want this to be terrible and B) I need to cut another 20 words to get it in compliance. I want to fit all of the below in the 250, so I'm not sure where to start trimming away. I'm happy to reciprocate!  

 

 

 

Failure sucks. But the fear of failure? I think I'd have more fun dying. Tonight we'll be hunting Shadows for the first time, and already that fear is pressing in on me.

 

            The neckline on my tank tightens, and I tug it to breathe. A curled blade of bear grass scratches the underside of my leg, and I snap it off, then turn it in my fingers. Moisture seeps from the serrated edge.

Luke will slay, no doubt. He'll earn his bands and join the Guard, and I'll be left to slowly die from the inside out, like this piece of grass.

 

Because you ripped it from the roots like they did to you.

 

My cheeks flush, and suddenly the blade is limp and lifeless, death against my skin. I flick my eyes to the high school across the street, then peek over my shoulder, beyond the Desert Willow I'm sitting against. Everything's silent. I snap my fingers, summoning the Light. An orb engulfs my palm, and when it burns white, I beckon the power of Protection. A blazing ball of fire consumes the orb, snuffing the blade from existence. When the flames die, I extinguish the Light and fling the specks of ash into the stifling breeze.

 

I pray the Guard will be as kind if I fail.

 

I mean, it's not like I'm not trying. I'm stronger than half my class (well maybe a quarter, but I can still hang) and I'm definitely the fastest. But it won't matter, because when you're a chicken-shit, speed is merely an accomplice to running away. If I were slower, maybe Dad would still be alive.

I like the voice of this a lot as well as the sense of conflict! The fear of failure sentence at the start could be later. I like starting with "Tonight we'll be hunting shadows..." but would like to see this followed up with a visceral description of the fear. Also, the detail of the grass leads me to think your MC is in the wilderness somewhere, but then it turns out the MC is close to a high school. Maybe a bit about the setting can come before the grass. I like the description of the grass, but I'm not sure why it's suddenly limp and lifeless. Did the MC's power do this? The transition from the dead grass and being torn out by the roots to looking over to the high school is a bit abrupt, and I'd like more of a bridge between these. I also like the last two sentences, but for them to have more of an impact, I'd love to get a stronger, more vivid feel of the MC's fear. The reflection on being stronger than half (or a quarter) of the class seems a bit flippant for someone so scared. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing!



#3 Sarkin

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 05:30 PM

**DISCLAIMER** This excerpt is 270 words, because I don't know where to cut!!! HALP! :)

 

Any critique is much appreciated! This is the opening of my MS, and it's slightly over 250 (270 I think). I'm heading to a writer's conference in April, and they'll be critiquing our first 250 live, so A) I don't want this to be terrible and B) I need to cut another 20 words to get it in compliance. I want to fit all of the below in the 250, so I'm not sure where to start trimming away. I'm happy to reciprocate!  

 

 

 

Failure sucks. But the fear of failure? I think I'd have more fun dying. Tonight we'll be hunting Shadows for the first time, and already that fear is pressing in on me.

 

            The neckline on my tank tightens, and I tug it to breathe. A curled blade of bear grass scratches the underside of my leg, and I snap it off, then turn it in my fingers. Moisture seeps from the serrated edge.

Luke will slay, no doubt. He'll earn his bands and join the Guard, and I'll be left to slowly die from the inside out, like this piece of grass.

 

Because you ripped it from the roots like they did to you.

 

My cheeks flush, and suddenly the blade is limp and lifeless, death against my skin. I flick my eyes to the high school across the street, then peek over my shoulder, beyond the Desert Willow I'm sitting against. Everything's silent. I snap my fingers, summoning the Light. An orb engulfs my palm, and when it burns white, I beckon the power of Protection. A blazing ball of fire consumes the orb, snuffing the blade from existence. When the flames die, I extinguish the Light and fling the specks of ash into the stifling breeze.

 

I pray the Guard will be as kind if I fail.

 

I mean, it's not like I'm not trying. I'm stronger than half my class (well maybe a quarter, but I can still hang) and I'm definitely the fastest. But it won't matter, because when you're a chicken-shit, speed is merely an accomplice to running away. If I were slower, maybe Dad would still be alive.

I think that the voice here is good, especially in the opening lines. The paragraph starting with "My cheeks flush" threw me off a bit, though. There were two many words in there I didn't know (all the capitalized ones), as well as concepts, so I felt a little confused. 

 

The writing was fine--it's just that paragraph, for me, was a little too much to swallow. It's good you don't explain or tell what these things are right away, but maybe there's a way you can ease these new concepts in a bit more?

 

"Hunting shadows" was a nice bit.






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