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Circadian
January 4th, 2013, 06:55 PM
This is a short description scene from Keeper of the Silent Mourn, from Serenade's POV.




I came to the opening, stood on the edge of a precipice. I could see nothing but darkness beneath my feet. Darkness that could very well descend to the innermost depths of the Earth. I hesitated…and slipped sideways through the opening.

I stood on a plateau of rock, my back to the wall, with no other way to go but back the way I had come. The winds were swirling around me now, picking up my hair and throwing it about. The incessant pounding threatened to throw me from the ledge. But it was what lay beyond the ledge that caught and held my attention. It was near impossible to describe, though I will try my best.

It had thick skin, almost like a reptile’s. I’d read a book once, about prehistoric beasts that used to live on Earth. Dinosaurs, they were called. I’d never seen one but I imagined they might have skin like this. It was pockmarked and craggy as if to be part of the Earth itself, drawn with fine lines of wrinkles as if etched with a twig through sand. I could not tell where the skin ended and Earth began. Great slabs of flesh stretched out from the creature’s body and attached themselves firmly into the rock all around, like giant bits of dried out taffy. A great roaring issued from the beast as it breathed.

It had no discernable shape that I could tell as it shifted in its slumber, bringing on a quaking of the ledge on which I stood. It groaned and moved again. I had to cling to the wall behind me for dear life as the entire cavern moved with it. I don’t know how, but it managed to bring its head (or what I assumed was its head) around to face me. It was just like the rest of its body, thick and earthy with two enormous nostrils the size of doorways, aligned so they were completely parallel to each other and pointing straight up and down. They flared with the creature’s breath and the cave rumbled again.

It opened its eyes. Lowering its massive head, it pointed one of those daunting eyes to me and I tried to stand straighter against the force of the winds. Its eye was vast, with an oval pupil that I could easily have fit inside and had plenty of room to spare. The iris expanded to cover the rest of the visible eyeball and it was the deepest shade of amber I had ever seen. Up this close, I could make out thousands of tiny veins, a darker amber than the surrounding iris. But as it encircled the pupil, the amber changed shades, subtly morphing into a lighter tint, the color of tree sap and darker into the color of burnt toast.

I stood in awe, afraid to move an inch in any direction. I stood transfixed by that glowing and tranquil stare.

I had found Clockwise.

~Circe

monseratthefool
January 4th, 2013, 07:23 PM
Very well-written. For the most part, the narrative explores without dallying, expands at a great pace, and keeps the tension dial turned just enough to keep the reader interested without revealing everything at once. It was a very nice read. A few suggestions




I came to the opening, stood on the edge of a precipice. I could see nothing but darkness beneath my feet. Darkness that could very well descend to the innermost depths of the Earth. I hesitated…and slipped sideways through the opening.


I admit I found myself confused by this visual. After the first sentence, I was standing at the edge of a precipice. I was alarmed at not seeing anything beneath my feet. Innermost depths of the earth, I'm in front of a giant pit of some sort. Then...I slip through an opening? I know you referenced opening, but opening/precipice seem to be two competing ideas. For me anyway.





It had thick skin, almost like a reptile’s. I’d read a book once, about prehistoric beasts that used to live on Earth. Dinosaurs, they were called. I’d never seen one but I imagined they might have skin like this. It was pockmarked and craggy as if to be part of the Earth itself, drawn with fine lines of wrinkles as if etched with a twig through sand. I could not tell where the skin ended and Earth began. Great slabs of flesh stretched out from the creature’s body and attached themselves firmly into the rock all around, like giant bits of dried out taffy. A great roaring issued from the beast as it breathed.



Visual well-executed.




It was just like the rest of its body, thick and earthy with two enormous nostrils the size of doorways, aligned so they were completely parallel to each other and pointing straight up and down. They flared with the creature’s breath and the cave rumbled again.



I'll admit that your use of doorways made me see wooden doors, rectangle. It became comical, then I had to adjust my perception to better understand what you meant. Maybe use something more analogously shaped, like "dark man-sized caverns" perhaps. That would immediately put it in my mind. I also understand that you are orienting the creatures head with the description of nostril alignment, but it might be a little overstated (overwritten). That's just personal preference though, definitely get other opinions on that.




It opened its eyes. Lowering its massive head, it pointed one of those daunting eyes to me and I tried to stand straighter against the force of the winds. Its eye was vast, with an oval pupil that I could easily have fit inside and had plenty of room to spare. The iris expanded to cover the rest of the visible eyeball and it was the deepest shade of amber I had ever seen. Up this close, I could make out thousands of tiny veins, a darker amber than the surrounding iris. But as it encircled the pupil, the amber changed shades, subtly morphing into a lighter tint, the color of tree sap and darker into the color of burnt toast.



Final bit; the use of the term amber three times in this passage and the extravagance with which you describe the color of the eye felt a little overwritten. Again, this is only personal preference, I'm sure there are readers that love to be immersed in every detail, but by the middle my mind was trying to skip this passage. "Amber eyes, big as hell, check." I think it could be tightened, every so slightly, is what I'm trying to say.

[/QUOTE]

Otherwise, brilliantly done. The detail with which you've described the three key set pieces, the protagonist, the beast, the cavern; felt minimalist but not empty, it left a lot of space for the mind to expand into and enjoy. Without explicitly describing the protag, I was made to feel concerned and invested in his actions. Nicely done.

Nee
January 4th, 2013, 08:01 PM
It's better to find ways to not use " I " at the beginning of so many sentences. And your beginning is confusing--I thought you were going to an art opening. How 'bout:

Standing at the precipice, I saw nothing but darkness beneath me.

Ariel
January 4th, 2013, 08:09 PM
Other than letting us know where the character is I think that the first two paragraphs are completely unnecessary. I liked the hair tossing etc but I dislike being addressed directly. I don't need the narrator to talk directly to me.

Overall I was intrigued by the creature and I want to know more about it (doorway nostrils was a bit off putting--I was wondering if the narrator was going to try to walk through them, which was just gross).

I do agree with Monserat in that this needs tightened in description and language.

Circadian
January 4th, 2013, 08:16 PM
'Kay, thanks for all the input. I can definitely see parts of the description that I need to improve upon. And yeah, I'm probably going to go back and change the doorway nostrils bit. Amsawtell, you're comment about that just made me laugh! I never really thought about it that way.

~Circe

rotsuchi1
January 17th, 2013, 08:43 PM
very good. :D

Vulgar`
January 18th, 2013, 01:29 AM
Pretty good writing. I would have to agree with the above posts, your language needs tightening and your sentence-count could be reduced by something like this:



I stood in awe, afraid to move an inch in any direction. I stood transfixed by that glowing and tranquil stare.

I had found Clockwise.

Standing in awe, afraid to move an inch in any direction, transfixed by that glowing and tranquil stare, I had found Clockwise.
^unless you didn't want to go for something like this and leave 'I had found Clockwise' isolated, which is understandable for center-stage purposes.

Keep it up.

James_KirkPatrick
January 18th, 2013, 09:46 AM
I liked this. The first half had a very gothic feel and I was reminded Lovecraft or Poe. Very nice literary tone.

For some reason I never like when the author is too descriptive of physical or tangible things. It's a strange pet peeve for a writer and probably hurts my own craft but I just don't like it when a story spends too long describing something. However in this story it worked. You spent a lot of time describing the enormity of the beast and it really gives the reader perspective. Obviously the creatures size is extraordinary so it's important that we don't just hear how big it is, but we get to know and feel it too. I loved the line about being able to fit in it's pupil.

I hope you keep writing and posting. There are very few books in the fantasy genre that I can get into, but this is something I would be interested in reading.

Best wishes

J

dolphinlee
January 18th, 2013, 12:01 PM
I can actually see this scene in my mind. Well done!

Most of what I would have said has already been covered.

I have a two minor problems with this paragraph.


It had thick skin, almost like a reptile’s. I’d read a book once, about prehistoric beasts that used to live on Earth. Dinosaurs, they were called. I’d never seen one but I imagined they might have skin like this. It was pockmarked and craggy as if to be part of the Earth itself, drawn with fine lines of wrinkles as if etched with a twig through sand. I could not tell where the skin ended and Earth began. Great slabs of flesh stretched out from the creature’s body and attached themselves firmly into the rock all around, like giant bits of dried out taffy. A great roaring issued from the beast as it breathed.


1) "It was pockmarked and craggy as if to be part of the Earth itself" is the earth pockmarked and craggy. I reaaly wanted to see the word moon here.

2) I have a problem with the same word used several times in close proximity. The first Earth is fine. The second I have written about.

The third one really jars me. Is the creature actually becoming part of the Earth. Then in the next sentence the slabs of flesh need to 'merge' with the rock in some way not just attach into it.

I'd very much like to see the tightened version of this.

Circadian
January 18th, 2013, 07:55 PM
I've thought about what you guys have said and saw things that I could change. So, taking your critiques into account, here is a revision of my description of Clockwise. I changed some of the words here and there (changed doors to cavernous, ha ha), and tightened up the description of the eye a bit.




I stopped before I reached the cave mouth, stood on the edge of a precipice. There was nothing but darkness beneath my feet. Darkness that could very well descend to the innermost depths of the Earth. I hesitated…and slipped sideways through the opening.

My back was to the wall now and I found myself standing on a plateau of rock. There was no other way to go but back the way I had come. The winds were swirling around me now, picking up my hair and throwing it about. The incessant pounding threatened to throw me from the ledge. But it was what lay beyond the ledge that caught and held my attention.

It had thick skin, almost like a reptile’s. I’d read a book once, about prehistoric beasts that used to live on Earth. Dinosaurs, they were called. I’d never seen one but I imagined they might have skin like this. It was pockmarked and craggy as if this cave cradled a shard of the moon. Fine lines of wrinkles were etched into the flesh as if with a twig through sand. I could not tell where the skin ended and the cave began. Great slabs of flesh stretched out from the creature’s body, merging into the rock all around, like giant bits of dried out taffy. A great roaring issued from the beast as it breathed.

It had no discernable shape that I could tell as it shifted in its slumber, bringing about a quaking of the ledge on which I stood. It groaned and moved again. I had to cling to the wall behind me for dear life as the entire cavern moved with it. I don’t know how, but it managed to bring its head (or what I assumed was its head) around to face me. It was just like the rest of its body, thick and earthy with two cavernous nostrils, pointing straight up and down. They flared with the creature’s breath and the cave rumbled again.

It opened its eyes. Lowering its massive head, it pointed one of those daunting eyes to me and I tried to stand straighter against the force of the winds. Its eye was vast, with an oval pupil that I could easily have fit inside and had plenty of room to spare. The iris expanded to cover the rest of the visible eyeball and it was the deepest shade of amber I had ever seen. Up this close, I could see the subtle change in shade, from the color of tree sap down to the color of burnt toast.

My heart filled with awe and I was afraid to move an inch in any direction, transfixed by that glowing and tranquil stare.

I had found Clockwise.

~Circe

dolphinlee
January 18th, 2013, 10:29 PM
I think the paragraph which begins "It has thick skin" is much more interesting now. It is also smoother to read.

I like the way you have adjusted sentences to remove the word I from the beginning of the paragraphs.

All together this is much tighter.

kinetika
February 19th, 2013, 03:22 AM
Are you still working on this? It's a beautiful piece. Passionate, and poetic. The revision is definitely better, but I feel that this sentence:


I stood on a plateau of rock, my back to the wall, with no other way to go but back the way I had come.

should be kept. It gave me more of a rush than the revised one did. Apart from that, it's wonderful as is.

Circadian
February 19th, 2013, 05:08 PM
Are you still working on this? It's a beautiful piece. Passionate, and poetic. The revision is definitely better, but I feel that this sentence:



should be kept. It gave me more of a rush than the revised one did. Apart from that, it's wonderful as is.


I'll think about it. I've actually finished the rough draft of this story and am writing a synopsis for its two-part sequel. I'll be going back to edit it pretty soon, though.