Thursday, April 22, 2010

50 Words #31

TITLE: Sonnet to Saint Payne
GENRE: Paranormal Romance

No matter how Calan looked at the situation, he would take her queen in the next three moves. A sigh of frustration escaped her. Her opponent's answering chuckle brought a smile to her lips. Behind him, twilight was dying in the windows, turning him into shadows behind his desk.


  1. Not hooked. Having a really hard time figuring out the PoV here. Is Calan male or female? Non-referrent pronouns are not helpful.

  2. Umm, Steve, you might read it again. "He" would take "her" queen....

    I do want to know why this chess game is so important to the characters, we see her frustration and his amusement (and confidence?). It does at least give the begining of a conflict. not bad for only 50 words.

  3. The pronouns are confusing. Calan isn't a known name, so it took me a few reads to get the paragraph. Not hooked.

  4. Also had a hard time with the POV. The name doesn't make the sex of the protagonist clear, so I'm not sure whether Calan is "he" or "she".

  5. Calan is a "he". But the next sentence is confusing people, author. I'm going to guess that Calan's opponent is a woman, and SHE is the one who is sighing. But you have your POV's all confused. It looks like Calan's POV, so in the third sentence, it shouldn't say that his chuckle brought a smile to her lips. If it's not her POV, we aren't supposed to know that.

    Try something like this:

    "No matter how Calan looked at the situation, he would take her queen in the next three moves. His opponent let out a sigh of frustration, making Calan chuckle. She passed him a smile...ect, ect,"

    Actually, now that I look at it again, if this is Calan's POV, we're also not supposed to know what it looks like behind him. If this is third person omniscient, you need to make it more clear. Because it's confusing gender. It might be best just to name Calan's opponent at first, just so that this is easily avoided.

  6. I could be hooked. There's a lot I like about this, but I agree with the others.

    Calan is not a gender specific name and so the use of 'he' as the pronoun following it implies that Calan is a he. The way I read it, though, leads me to think that Calan is the girl.

    If Calan is the female, all the confusion could easily be cleared up by saying something like, "No matter how Calan looked at it, Andrew (or some other gender specific name) would take her queen in the next three moves."

    Other than that, like I said, there's a lot to like in so few words. Nice set up.

  7. Not hooked. There's little in this piece to imply a story is about to start.

    Perhaps try injecting some tension into the scene. If "she" (don't know her name yet--sorry!) is likely to be upset by losing, rather than gracefully accepting of the fact as she appears to be now, that would add some tension. Also, if Calan is worried about upsetting her, that gives him an inner conflict: he's going to win, but he doesn't want the consequences of that. Both these things would help make the piece more engaging because the reader would be curious to see whether the fireworks are going to happen or be avoided.

    Scene-setting and introducing your reader to the characters is important, but you do need to inject something to hold the reader's interest until the plot really gets cooking. Tension and conflict help do that.

  8. I found it really easy to figure out who the pronouns were referring to, but dropping in "his" name somewhere really close to the beginning might help make it a bit more clear. I've only heard of a female Calan, so I came to it with the right idea, but I can see how there might be some confusion. That said, I love the imagery of the twilight, and I'm already sympathizing with Calan. I am quite hooked.

  9. Agree with the pronoun usage. I also thought it was a good example of purple prose--the last sentence for sure.

    Love the title!

  10. POV shifts like this are hard for me. I want to stay with one character for a little bit if you put me in his head. Unless Calan is her? Then this isn't a POV shift, but an antecedent issue.

    Nice imagery.

  11. I agree with Emay and TK. You can sort out the pronouns but it is confusing at first read.