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 Chapter 1: Aim For The Heart

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deathbypen


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PostSubject: Chapter 1: Aim For The Heart   December 29th 2008, 3:39 am

"What's that look for?" he asked innocently, as if he didn't know. Despite the centuries of folklore describing Jack Frost as a spritely adolescent, I found him to be a bit on the needy side.

For a moment I thought about ignoring him and returning home. Even after tracking him down to an isolated woodland reserve in Maine, I suddenly felt the urge to disregard my responsibilities.

"I'm not a fan of your work," I stated matter-of-factly.

Twirling a frozen leaf, he grinned impishly. His lips always reminded me of a thinly frozen lake, a frosty dark blue. "You still are, but you don’t have to admit this to me. I know you too well.”

“I doubt that,” I mumbled.

“A challenge then, to-”

“Jack, what are you doing here?”

He pouted at my interruption, but continued to twirl his leaf. He leaned up against a frozen log that had been covered with green moss hours ago. Frozen, the moss resembled cake icing. I almost expected to hear the ice crunch behind his back, but as usual, it never betrayed Jack’s movement.

“It’s the middle of August,” I continued in his silence. “This-” I motioned to the circle of forest he had frozen, “is against the rules. As it is, the Muses are thinking of a way to explain it. You better hope to be gone by the time they do.”

“And you always follow the rules,” he said. The leaf stopped twirling. Crumpling the leaf between both of his hands, the remains drifted to his feet like heavy snowflakes.

Because it was a statement and not a question, I didn’t answer.

“There is a new saying I’m rather fond of, it’s something like ‘rules exist so that we may break them.’ Have you heard of it?”

Keeping my gaze carefully averted from his, I waved away his nonsense. “If you are going to listen to human expressions, and carry them out, you may find yourself up against human consequences.”

It wasn’t that there was some magical force to his eyes, but the lack of it. They weren’t weary with hundreds of years of experience, but hopefully wide. The small wrinkles at the corners might have been attributed to stress as easily as they could have been to laughter. Like the morning sun shining through icicles, they were an undefinable color. The only stable color was the outside of his iris which was a color that could be mistaken for blue or purple. I didn’t spend my time debating which one.

In my opinion, they were too angelic to be trusted.

Jack shrugged and the trees mimicked his motions. Their already low branches dipped enough to be followed by soft echoing chimes. “I’ll risk it. I’ve lived more than three human lifetimes, and I’ve yet to achieve the accomplishments of one.”

“That still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” He pushed himself away from the frozen log until he stood at the edge of the frozen oasis, a few feet from where I stood. Wearing sandals, I remained on my side of the white line where the earth was still warm.

“No, if it was obvious, I wouldn’t be asking you, now would I?” Although I held my ground, I fought the unusual urge to fidget. It was hard not to notice how beautiful he was, but I was sure I could find something. I scanned him looking for a blemish, a hangnail, a loose button. Anything. I found nothing.

“If it wasn’t obvious, you wouldn’t be avoiding my eyes right now.” He went so far as to duck his head lower, trying to cross my gaze. “Why don’t you try being human for once? If this is a mistake, the least we can do is make it. I’ve tried correcting it, you’ve tried avoiding it, but it’s going to happen.”

“Stop it!” I huffed. “I will never make a mistake with you.”

He smiled and I realized what I said.

“You know what I mean. You’ve already made one. I don’t need to make one to prove you right.”

He lifted his blue-tinged hand as if to reach for mine, but it fell before I knew its true intention.

“Are you going to punish me forever for that one small thing?”

“Small thing?” I don’t know at what point I lifted my head, I found myself staring him down. “You shot me. No one shoots me. No one shoots Cupid.”

“If your arrows are good enough for-”

“No Jack, there is no comparison. I shoot people, people don’t shoot me. If it worked that way, everyone would have arrows. Do you have an arrow Jack? Do you?”

“No.” Despite his straight face, his eyes betrayed his amusement.

Having to take out my frustration, I jabbed him in the chest accenting my statements. "That’s what I thought. And what did you do, Jack?”

“I shot you.”

“With whose bow and arrow?”

“Yours.”

“And you think that my feelings for you will overwhelm that pure and simple logic? I can’t deny that I have feelings, but unlike you, I don’t have to act on them.”

He made a point of looking at my index finger. “I see that.”

I whipped my hand back to my side. “Jack, undue this…” I wanted to say “mess” but couldn’t bring myself to do it. With the sunlight streaming through the icicles, and the snow dusting the tops of branches, it was anything but a mess. I let the statement hang. “I’m not taking another call that has to deal with you, so don’t bother.”

I turned around practically marching away.

"I wish I could undue it all." I felt a cool chill along the back of my neck and new he had thrown his voice. There was something in his demeanor that made it obvious he wasn't only talking about the forest. "I can't though, can I?"

“No.”

Before he add anything else, I flashed myself into my New York City loft. Only an hour had passed since I left the forest, but it was still quicker than driving. My television was still on from this morning, and the sudden noise was startling. Just as I walked around the coffee table to turn it off, I paused listening to the announcer.

"...unsure of how the trees died. Scientists have begun testing the local ground water for any trace of chemicals which may have caused the trees in this small Maine forest to die. In further news-"

I turned off the T.V.
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PostSubject: Reply   December 29th 2008, 8:39 am

My main problem with this passage is the usual case of the main character, the point-of-view, NOT being presented. You do name him very late in the section, but that is about it. From his speech, I get the impression of a sophisticated PERSON, not a small cerubic urchin wearing a large diaper as a toga.

Well, you know, you really don't describe Jack either. You mention the eyes, but that is about all.

For that matter, you present the forest as being put in a winter chill, but the news speaks of the forest as being killed. I thus believe that the impact of the forest scene was not described either.

DESCRIPTION!!!

That is all. Any other problems I believe will be corrected as you advance the story (if not, I will bother you about them then). Thus, keep writing.

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Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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Urs


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 1: Aim For The Heart   December 29th 2008, 12:33 pm

deathbypen wrote:
"What's that look for?" he asked innocently, as if he didn't know. Despite the centuries of folklore describing Jack Frost as a spritely adolescent, I found him to be a bit on the needy side.

For a moment I thought about ignoring him and returning home. Even after tracking him down to an isolated woodland reserve in Maine, I suddenly felt the urge to disregard my responsibilities.

Ok, after all things are said and done, every time you put something in, you need to answer some questions to the reader or they are left with a massive "What the?"

Like anything, there are the major questions that should be constantly asked and answered by the work. They are.

Who
What
Where
When
Why
and
How

So when I read this, you answered me the Who, and Where right out of the starting gate.

Then you hit me with a line "I found him a bit on the needy side"

The next thing you should be putting out is what do you mean by being on the "Needy Side"

In your first draft, this was explained. "Jack Frost needed approval" so I did not bring this up then, as you asked and answered your own questions.

Here you did not, you left me wondering what you mean by this opening. It is good, powerful opening and needs now to be addressed.

Consider a mix of your first work in here about wanting more approval from Cupid at this point.

Quote :
"I'm not a fan of your work," I stated matter-of-factly.

Twirling a frozen leaf, he grinned impishly. His lips always reminded me of a thinly frozen lake, a frosty dark blue. "You still are, but you don’t have to admit this to me. I know you too well.”

Good emotional internal dialouge, but your first work had an equal amount of rational dialogue which gave character depth to this work. Consider looking at how to use each of them to build description.

I could tell by the way he swings his stick he's a fighting man, he takes his licks

I was enthralled by the way he swings his stick, those fighting men make me tick

See how one is touching upon the emotional feelings of the Narrator, while the other touches on the rational. You need to use both to build the moment.

One to get me to feel the narrator, their relationship and the emotional feel of things, the other to give me insight that I would otherwise need to just have to grasp at and making wild unsubstantiated assumptions.

Quote :
“I doubt that,” I mumbled. (Why did you mumble!, this is first person, I am IN your head.)

“A challenge then, to-” (How is saying this, give me a feel, does he raise his finger, he do a little dance and skipped across the frozen water in joyous glee, or does he snarl in a challenging way to make me aware he is ready to fight, or does he say this like he is quoting Macbeth for a high school play he does not want to be in)

“Jack, what are you doing here?” (Again, I am in your head, let know I am there, This is first person, why is she asking this question and more to the point, what kind of answer does she want)

He pouted at my interruption, but continued to twirl his leaf. He leaned up against a frozen log that had been covered with green moss hours ago. Frozen, the moss resembled cake icing. I almost expected to hear the ice crunch behind his back, but as usual, it never betrayed Jack’s movement.

This all 3rd person description. It tells me what is going on from some obscure outside narrator.

I first person I am the Narrator, I am Cupid, I am in Cupid's head, using his Gray matter as a couch his eyes are my TV screens to the world, His ears are my surround sound system and I using his nostrils as my AC system - or hers as the case is I love you

Tell me what is going on from Cupids Point of View, as Cupid sees what is going on.


Quote :
“It’s the middle of August,” I continued in his silence (Ok, how about the fact that you might be margely pissed off at the idea that you are standing in middle of a frozen forest in the middle of august). “This-” I motioned to the circle of forest he had frozen, “is against the rules. As it is, the Muses are thinking of a way to explain it. You better hope to be gone by the time they do.”

Ok now before I continue, I want you to go back and look at what you first wrote. I am in Cupids head, feeling her emotions as she talks with Jack Frost, two people, two dear friends/blood thirsty rivals are having a sweet chat in a frozen forest that should not exist.

You have a great story idea her, but you keep floating your POV and Narrator style as to what is going on so I loose my fix on what I should be feeling how I am observing this event transpire, which is giving me a sense of vertigo as I read this.

Now, I could go though and point this out though the whole work, but I would rather you just rewrite this keeping in mind that I am in Cupids head, I can not see more then Cupid sees, I can not feel anything more or LESS then what Cupid feels as this is happening.

You can use many styles with this as well.

Film noir comes to mind first:

It was a tough place. A real though place. The Black eyed peas had real black eyes.

While action and internal dialogue are great as well.

I grabbed for the rope in panic, Oh gods don't let me fall, please I am too young to die"

Rational internal knowledge of the situation

It was thirty thousand feet to the top of the peak, we had enough food for two days and nowhere near enough rope, I could not have been happier.

In all of these, we see one thing, the Narrator is the MC, the word though their eyes and thoughts.

This is really a fun bit of work, and I like the premise very much, it has a living quality to it that could bounder from humor, satire, to outright gut heart wrenching drama.

You have great talent, I saw it in the first work, so my suggestion is find Your voice for this piece, grab a ladder and climb into Cupids Head, then go to town on this.

I am excited to see what you can make from this.

Looking good!
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 1: Aim For The Heart   March 2nd 2009, 11:37 pm

[quote="deathbypen"]"What's that look for?" he asked innocently, as if he didn't know. Despite the centuries of folklore describing Jack Frost as a spritely adolescent, I found him to be a bit on the needy side. How is Jack Frost needy? Describe the actions that the reader would perceive as being needy. Don't just tell.

For a moment I thought about ignoring him and returning home. Even after tracking him down to an isolated woodland reserve in Maine, I suddenly felt the urge to disregard my responsibilities.

"I'm not a fan of your work," I stated matter-of-factly. It's best to stick with I said and let the dialog speak for itself.

Twirling a frozen leaf, he grinned impishly. His lips always reminded me of a thinly frozen lake, a frosty dark blue. "You still are, but you don’t have to admit this to me. I know you too well.”
How can someone grin impishly? What would it look like?
“I doubt that,” I mumbled.

“A challenge then, to-”

“Jack, what are you doing here?”

He pouted at my interruption, but continued to twirl his leaf. He leaned up against a frozen log that had been covered with green moss hours ago. Frozen, the moss resembled cake icing. I almost expected to hear the ice crunch behind his back, but as usual, it never betrayed Jack’s movement.

“It’s the middle of August,” I continued in his silence. “This-” I motioned to the circle of forest he had frozen, “is against the rules. As it is, the Muses are thinking of a way to explain it. You better hope to be gone by the time they do.”

“And you always follow the rules,” he said. The leaf stopped twirling. Crumpling the leaf between both of his hands, the remains drifted to his feet like heavy snowflakes.

Because it was a statement and not a question, I didn’t answer.

“There is a new saying I’m rather fond of, it’s something like ‘rules exist so that we may break them.’ Have you heard of it?”

Keeping my gaze carefully averted from his, I waved away his nonsense. “If you are going to listen to human expressions, and carry them out, you may find yourself up against human consequences.”

It wasn’t that there was some magical force to his eyes, but the lack of it. They weren’t weary with hundreds of years of experience, but hopefully wide. The small wrinkles at the corners might have been attributed to stress as easily as they could have been to laughter. Like the morning sun shining through icicles, they were an undefinable color. The only stable color was the outside of his iris which was a color that could be mistaken for blue or purple. I didn’t spend my time debating which one. Why is this paragraph important? Does it help the story or hinder the story?

In my opinion, they were too angelic to be trusted.

Jack shrugged and the trees mimicked his motions. Their already low branches dipped enough to be followed by soft echoing chimes. “I’ll risk it. I’ve lived more than three human lifetimes, and I’ve yet to achieve the accomplishments of one.”

“That still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” He pushed himself away from the frozen log until he stood at the edge of the frozen oasis, a few feet from where I stood. Wearing sandals, I remained on my side of the white line where the earth was still warm.

“No, if it was obvious, I wouldn’t be asking you, now would I?” Although I held my ground, I fought the unusual urge to fidget. It was hard not to notice how beautiful he was, but I was sure I could find something. I scanned him looking for a blemish, a hangnail, a loose button. Anything. I found nothing. This sentence sounds awkward in describing a man. How about: He made me jealous because he always looked good. Also remember, it's easier on the reader if you describe the supporting characters. Writing the story in first person is fine because they have a chance to envision this happening to them. But that leaves the supporting characters.

“If it wasn’t obvious, you wouldn’t be avoiding my eyes right now.” He went so far as to duck his head lower, trying to cross my gaze. “Why don’t you try being human for once? If this is a mistake, the least we can do is make it. I’ve tried correcting it, you’ve tried avoiding it, but it’s going to happen.”

“Stop it!” I huffed. “I will never make a mistake with you.”

He smiled and I realized what I said.

“You know what I mean. You’ve already made one. I don’t need to make one to prove you right.”

He lifted his blue-tinged hand as if to reach for mine, but it fell before I knew its true intention.

“Are you going to punish me forever for that one small thing?”

“Small thing?” I don’t know at what point I lifted my head, I found myself staring him down. “You shot me. No one shoots me. No one shoots Cupid.” Now we have an idea of who's perspective this is. Suggestion: Introduce this at the beginning of the story rather than the middle.

“If your arrows are good enough for-”

“No Jack, there is no comparison. I shoot people, people don’t shoot me. If it worked that way, everyone would have arrows. Do you have an arrow Jack? Do you?”

“No.” Despite his straight face, his eyes betrayed his amusement.

Having to take out my frustration, I jabbed him in the chest accenting my statements. "That’s what I thought. And what did you do, Jack?”

“I shot you.”

“With whose bow and arrow?”

“Yours.”

“And you think that my feelings for you will overwhelm that pure and simple logic? I can’t deny that I have feelings, but unlike you, I don’t have to act on them.” I'm not sure, but, are you aware of what this implies? Is this male/male tale? Did you know that cupid is a boy?

He made a point of looking at my index finger. “I see that.”

I whipped my hand back to my side. “Jack, undue this…” I wanted to say “mess” but couldn’t bring myself to do it. With the sunlight streaming through the icicles, and the snow dusting the tops of branches, it was anything but a mess. I let the statement hang. “I’m not taking another call that has to deal with you, so don’t bother.”

I turned around practically marching away.

"I wish I could undue it all." I felt a cool chill along the back of my neck and new he had thrown his voice. There was something in his demeanor that made it obvious he wasn't only talking about the forest. "I can't though, can I?"

“No.”

Before he add anything else, I flashed myself into my New York City loft. Only an hour had passed since I left the forest, but it was still quicker than driving. My television was still on from this morning, and the sudden noise was startling. Just as I walked around the coffee table to turn it off, I paused listening to the announcer.

"...unsure of how the trees died. Scientists have begun testing the local ground water for any trace of chemicals which may have caused the trees in this small Maine forest to die. In further news-"

I turned off the T.V.[/quote]


First let me say that I am in way a professional. Everything stated is strictly my opinion from a reader's POV. Keep it. Toss it. It's up to you.

Overall Impression: In my opinion, it looks the start of a confused fairy tale. Simply meaning the mixing of two or more tales to create a story. Maybe with a little more work it will be better and a little less confusing. Good luck with your story.
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