Wednesday, May 6, 2009

43 Drop the Needle

TITLE: The Seeker's Charm
GENRE: Fantasy

Rose Woodman is a half blood raised among mortals. Most of the villagers are afraid of her. Returning home (across a river) from the blacksmith's shop, she's confronted by two young men wanting a kiss. She knocks one easily into the water, intending the same for the other, but becomes distracted by the sight of a man, watching from the riverbank. It's not the first time she’s seen him. She and the newly repaired hoe end up falling off the bridge.

As she rose out of river, Ned and Bert stared shamelessly, eyes wide and mouths open, resembling the fish they’d caught that morning.

Rose leveled the hoe and stormed toward the bank with and a sound like a howl.

That brought Ned and Bert to their senses. She had the hoe well in hand, maybe too well, and it was equally obvious that her body, at least, was sound.

Goodness knows, neither of them felt responsible for the state of her mind. They turned, in unison, knocking into each other as they snatched up their poles, and scurried up the bank without looking back. Bert fell, face down in the mud, but he scrambled up with a yelp and took off after his cousin who’d not stopped, for even one second, to help him.

Rose whirled around to face the hunter.

Although the boys hadn’t seemed to notice, he'd leapt down to the water's edge during her fall. He was still there. Water lapped at his boots as he stared, but not at all like a fish. His eyes danced. His wide mouth curled into a grin.

“WHO ARE YOU? Rose screamed. WHERE do you come from? WHY are you following me…" She was out of breath, "and stop…staring…at…me!”

The man did try to keep his expression bland, but the corner of his mouth twitched disobediently. “Where should I look?”

“JUST ANSWER ME!” Rose jerked the hoe in a threatening manner, but he was smiling again. “And DON’T LAUGH…AT ME.”


  1. The writing hooked me right off the bat. The prose was both lyrical and clear and the voice was tone-perfect for fantasy.

    Loved the description: resembling the fish they’d caught that morning:)

    Also, your word choice throughout really kept the plot moving:
    --stormed toward the bank; snatched up their poles; jerked the hoe--:
    Some great action verbs there!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. The action is good. I could really see her storming the men, hoe in hand. However, I don't think the capitalization is necessary for emphasis in the confrontation at the end. You probably don't even need all the exclamation marks. Her words are strong on their own.

    Also, jerking the hoe "in a threatening manner" is redundant. It's pretty clear she's dangerous with the hoe already.

    Overall, I like it! I'm curious about the man.

  3. I enjoy the style of the writing here and would definitely keep reading.

    I, too, like the line about the boys resembling the fish they'd caught - great mental image as well as a glimpse into what they are like all in one. Nice job.

    I agree about the capitalization - too much.

    A few minor suggestions -
    1) In paragraph 6 "Although the boys didn't seem to notice" slowed the pacing just a little and is implied by their actions so can probably be dropped without hurting anything.
    2) Also in para 6 "He was still there" same thing as #1.
    3) Same para - you may want to say "river's edge" rather than "water's edge" to avoid repeating "water" twice in so short a space.
    4) I'm not sure why, but having her ask where the hunter was from in that moment seemed a little out of place. I like that para better w/o that question. Just my opinion.

    Overall I really like your work and am impressed by what a good sense of character you give in so short an exerpt. I like both the hunter and Rose already.

  4. I don't read fantasy very often but this is catchy.
    I think there is a typo in the second line. "toward the bank with and a sound" I think it's the "and" that doesn't belong there. However, it seems a little odd to me that storming toward the bank makes a sound at all.
    In the fourth paragraph I think the sentence is stronger without "for even one second".

    Your voice is great!

  5. This has great action. The capitals are distracting; I would eliminate. I was a bit confused - if she knocked one of the guys into the water and then fell in herself, wouldn't there be two in the water and one on the bank? A few little nits on sentences: "the man did try" to "the man tried." The Bert fell sentence seemed overdone. How about something like: Bert fell face down into the mud, scrambling up with a yelp as he ran after his cousin.

    I would keep reading - very curious about the man.

  6. I agree with some of the other comments that you don't need the caps in the dialogue. Also, the first line of dialogue is missing an end quotation mark after the, "Where are you?" and you need a period after--She was out of breath--as that was not a dialogue tag. I'm interested to know what happens between Rose and the Hunter so I'd read on :-)

  7. I think the sentence 'Goodness knows neither of them felt responsible etc' is unneccessary. Other than that I like it, it's funny.

  8. If you were to keep the 'Goodness knows' sentence, I would put it at the end of the paragraph before. I think it's better placed there, where it contrasts immediately with the sentence about her body.

    I'd like to read more.

  9. I really loved this one. I think you made a little typo in the second paragraph. There is an extra word ‘and’. Should it read>> Rose levelled the hoe and stormed toward the bank without a sound? Or maybe>> Rose levelled the hoe and stormed toward the bank, hooting like an owl.

    In the fourth paragraph maybe>>Bert fell, face down in the mud. He scrambled up with a yelp, taking off after his cousin who’d already disappeared into the forest

    In the last paragraph maybe> “Answer me!” Rose jerked the hoe in the air toward him, but he smiled again “And don’t you laugh…at …me.”

    I also agree that you don’t need capitals, but I like the exclamation marks. Great voice and characters though. It sounds like a great read.

  10. Overall, a nice scene with good action.

    Is there a missing word here? "stormed toward the bank with and a sound like a howl."

    The POV skipped from the two boys to the girl to the hunter. This can work but could lead you right into telling instead of showing.

    "in unison" means both are singing the same notes. It is specific to singing, so you need to find a different word, like simultaneously, to use here.

    “WHO ARE YOU? Rose screamed. WHERE do you come from? You're missing quote marks here. You might review your punctuation rules.

  11. I found the boys' POV distracting. I don't really care about their detailed actions or emotions at this point. Just get them out of the way so we can get to the main action.

    The latter part of this excerpt worked better for me and I enjoyed the dialogue in the confrontation between Rose and her watcher.

    I agree with others though.

    Lose the caps and 'threatening manner' is redundant

  12. I haven't read any above crits. You grabbed me for sure. Enjoyed the confrontation and it definitely meets the contest description.

    That said, I think this could have been stronger by sticking to your dialog. Too often the description was cooling down the emotional outbursts. Used 4th paragraph as example... I chopped it cruely, but hopefully the gritty is still there shouting out a bit more...

    "They snatched up their poles, and scurried up the bank. Bert fell, face down in the mud, scrambling with a (terrified, disperate?)yelp and his brother never loooked back."

    Yeah, that's probably not helpful, but when I think emotion over blown--I think short sentences, quick dialog, a pace with a fast punch, punch beat to it. The same desciption through out held down the soccer punch in my opinion.

    I like this MC testy, gritty attitude. Go for it and thank you for sharing!