Sunday, March 20, 2011

Submission #1

NAME: Kim Batchelor
TITLE: The Mists of Na Crainn (Middle Grade)

A sharp wind cut through the leaves above the girl’s head. Their shredded remnants bolted forward and so did she, running with her arms pulling at the air.

“Lyric Doherty!”

Had she truly heard her name being called? Lyric brushed the thought aside, ignored the call, and kept to the path. To stray meant more danger than to keep to the foot way she now traveled by memory.

“Lyric!”

This time the voice certainly came from somewhere nearby. Lyric stopped, and only in stopping did she make out a slight glow on the ground just to the right of the path—a shimmer like water. The light from a single star illuminated that one spot.

Lyric took a few more steps and slowly eased herself to her knees. Her eyes fixed on the small patch of grass. She stared a long while, or what seemed a long while. The dry foliage above her head thrashed against itself, sounding a familiar warning.
Something is here, she thought. Her fingers quivered as she threaded them through the blades. The task required care, or otherwise whatever called her might slip away, as it sometimes did if she were too eager. The object might sink into the ground or dissolve into the air or… What’s this?

A delicate silver spiral appeared in the center of the pool of light. Lyric opened her hand and gently lifted it to nestle just inside her palm, then placed it in her pocket. The grass returned to its forest-green hue as a churning cloud dimmed the light from above.

6 comments:

  1. Great opener and intriguing. But a lot of long and awkward sentences, and some of the phrasing does not make sense, IHMO.

    Might be stronger written like this (to give you some ideas):

    “To stray from the footpath would be dangerous. She raced forward, each breath burning in her chest. Her feet flew down the dirt trail she knew by heart, dried leaves crushed underfoot.

    “Lyric!”

    The urgent tone made her pause, she leaned on her knees for breath. The darkness thickened around her. The trees aching over the path weakened the moonlight, yet a tiny glow to the right of the path blinked, shimmering like water. Glancing up through the tangle of branches, she noticed a single star in the night sky illuminated the area.”

    Tension is better written in short, tight sentences to build suspense. By eliminating redundant phrases, you will make your writing more clear and concise.

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  2. I have to echo what Sherry said. There is a very interesting opening here with a lot of great imagery. But it does get bogged down a bit. A little bit of trimming could take this opening a long way.

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  3. I really could use some more specifics on "bogged down" and "trimming" if anyone can give me that. This has been reviewed and critiqued previously, including by an editor, and I've incorporated all changes. I'd be willing to make more revisions if I know exactly where the problem(s) lie.

    Just keep in mind this is for middle grade.

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  4. "A sharp wind cut through the leaves above the girl’s head. Their shredded remnants bolted forward and so did she, running with her arms pulling at the air."

    Is what you had. If I was your editor, I would probably change it to something like:

    "A sharp wind cut through the leaves as the girl bolted forward through the forest."

    and "This time the voice certainly came from somewhere nearby. Lyric stopped, and only in stopping did she make out a slight glow on the ground just to the right of the path—a shimmer like water. The light from a single star illuminated that one spot."

    Could probably be trimmed to:

    "This time the voice certainly came from somewhere nearby. Lyric stopped, and made out a slight glow shimmering along the ground. A single star illuminated that spot."

    and "She stared a long while, or what seemed a long while." could goto "She stared for what what seemed a long while."

    "Her fingers quivered as she threaded them through the blades. The task required care, or otherwise whatever called her might slip away, as it sometimes did if she were too eager. The object might sink into the ground or dissolve into the air or… What’s this?" to "Her fingers quivered as she carefully threaded them through the blades to keep whatever called her from slipping away. She knew that if she was too eager, it might sink into the ground or dissolve into the air. She paused "What’s this?""

    I guess just showing you what I mean by trimming might be the best way to convey what I mean. I don't write for middle grade though or have much exposure at all to it, so I could be completely wrong in my 'edits'

    Hope that helps some

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  5. I am intrigued by the opener. For the beginning 250, I think you could give your readers a little bit more instead of keeping them guessing. The way the scene developed, you have a great opportunity to really cache in on some great prose. Don't limit yourself.

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