The Way She Swung - YA

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Thread: The Way She Swung - YA

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    New Hampshire

    The Way She Swung - YA

    Hello, I'm Turtle and this is my first post so bear with me
    This is the first 574 words of a story I was thinking of starting. So just lemme know if I could do things better, draws you in, spelling & grammer, all that jazz. Thanks guys

    Clara leaned on the slick railing of the Banshee. The worn cargo ship cleaved through the foaming ocean waves like a butter knife, casting a salt water spray to sprinkle across Clara’s slender hands and forearms. Her white dress fluttered around her ankles, plastered to the backs of her legs as she bent over the sea, her lips twitching as an arch of land faded into view. Her blonde, almost white hair fluttered behind her like ribbons against the wind.

    First Hand Mason Baynes watched her from the upper deck of the ship. Admiring how her dress lay plastered against her feminine curves and how her silken hair waved in the ocean breeze. For four weeks he had watched her grace the Banshee’s old deck, her bare feet and soft eyes making it new again amongst the weary sailors. Occasionally, she would return a wayward smile to him when he happened to time his glances. But every night, she told Capitan Levi she would be in her quarters at 7:00 and no one was to bother her. She kept to her statements, and every night at 7:00 her heavy cabin door slammed shut and the lock clicked into place. Mason sighed through his teeth as he rubbed his palms on his thighs and stood.

    “Be careful, my lady,” He called against the wind. “The railing gets mighty slick.”

    Clara turned her gaze to him. Her slender lips feigning a small smile. Pushing off from the railing, she padded over to him quietly, her bright blue eyes glimmering in the sunlight. “You’re a kind man, but I know well enough about ships.” She stated flatly.

    “So you’re a traveler, then?” Mason grinned “Where have you visited, my lady? Any exotic lands I should be aware of?” His bushy black eyebrows leapt up, causing his brow to crinkle.

    She sighed, “I am no traveler, sir. Just your passenger at the moment.”

    Mason wrung his hands and straightened his grungy grey vest. “It’ll be a shame to see you go, my lady. You’re presence has blessed us all, myself especially.” He whispered as he gestured out among the many sailors busying themselves with work.

    Clara almost smiled as she patted his rough shoulder. Her soft touch sent shivers down his spine. “You’re very kind, sir. If I am ever to take another trip, I’ll be sure to get in touch with you.”

    Mason’s smile widened. The boat rocked as it came into port. The crew shouted and thumped about on the ship, tossing heavy woven ropes to the reaching men on the docks. Further inland, a celebration erupted inside of tall white tents. Women dressed in vibrant dresses clung to their husbands arms. Young children squealed happily as they chased chickens and small puppies through the tall golden grass. The Banshee lurched forwards as the ropes tightened. Mason quickly grasped Clara’s hips to keep her steady, only to fatally find that she never moved in the first place. Her feet were grounded, her core firm with her arms draped at her sides. Arching a thin eyebrow, Mason quickly withdrew his hands and tried to hide his pink cheeks.

    “We’re here Mistress Clara! Welcome to North Rulle Port!” Captain Levi bellowed from the bridge above. His meaty hands were clamped on the greasy wheel as he flashed Clara and yellowed smile. “Have Mason take your things for ‘ya, Mistress.” He said with a smirk as he waved goodbye.

  2. #2
    Trying to stay on top of what's posted, I pulled up your post. The first thing I noticed was you're also in New Hampshire, happy to see you here

    Getting on to your story, I thought it flowed understandably other than the second to the last paragraph. I have no idea why that "Further inland" bit popped up in the paragraph? Can't see any transition or tie in.

    I think you've a good story line started here, but the glaring thing to me is what I've seen in a number of newer writer's pieces. The thing about writing to me is depicting the moving image in one's mind's eye with words alone, sufficiently accurately yet unobtrusively. That is without all the verbiage that drags it out. Such leaves the reader thinking, alright, alright, I get it, where are we going. Think of a painting with a beautifully rendered subject that the artist added a lot of distracting detail to.

    So, I like your core writing, but lose all the verbiage You want (I would hope) to convey a story in an engrossing way, not to impress the reader with how much unnecessary detail you can work into it.

    Just the take of a jaded of fart, that I hope helps in some small way

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    New Hampshire
    Thanks so much LeeC! Your post meant a lot and I'll defiantely take it into consoderation
    yay New Hamphsire-ites ahaha
    - Turtle

  4. #4
    Nice start to a story you have here.

    Just a couple of small things that I noted.

    It is mentioned that Mason is on the upper deck watching her. I got a sense that he was a deck above her but then she walks straight over to him when he calls out. I was slightly confused.

    The further inland part caught me as well. I think that it is a part that could perhaps be developed more and as its own paragraph. Possibly as a way of describing the island once Clara has left the ship and headed inland? Just an idea. It could be a useful addition to add to the setting but in its current place it distracts from the main two characters we are familiarising ourselves with.

    Finally, I was slightly confused on the time period that this story was set in. Initially with the description of the cargo ship I imagined it to be modern day on one of those massive container ships. However, towards the end I felt that with the use of ropes to anchor the ship that it was set in an early time period. In the end I wasn't quite sure. I may just be interpreting the story wrongly but perhaps some description of clothes or the idea of the level of technology that exists in the story would be useful.

    I hope that these comments are helpful and best of luck with your writing.


  5. #5
    A nice flow and lilt to the story. Does it grab the reader and interest them enough to carry on? It is certainly intriguing in some respects but I think the comments above ring true. A little less flowery in the descriptions and a little more information to give us context. I think I have answered my own question in that I would like to find out what happens next. Nice work!

  6. #6
    I really like the description of her, that's how I like to write.

    I was wondering about time period. I think, without being told the reader might fill some of the gaps in, that could help or hinder you. Cargo ship, I wasn't thinking olden times but I didn't necessarily want to think modern times, though at one point I was thinking container ship (also picturing an Alice like character stepping onto a ship, a unique character ahead of her time, surrounded by males). Railings slippery, and door slammed shut, locking into place, I was thinking metal. But captain, first mate, quarters, and the fact that Mason was calling her lady, I was thinking of more olden times.

    White dress, bare feet, on a cargo ship, raises an intriguing question, I'd want to read on to see why...
    Also, like the title

  7. #7
    Nicely written. I would be interested to know why she was locked in her room every evening. She is obviously used to sailing but tells the sailor that she isnt a traveller. I am intrigued!

  8. #8
    First drafts are always full of places for improvement. And elsewhere on the board, Ralph Rotten spoke of the first 200,000 words being practice. We're always practicing even after that.

    You have a nice writing voice which makes people want to get more of the story. I agree with those who're looking for clarification of time and place. It's a YA you say, but I'm not getting that - yet anyway. With how you describe Clara, it feels romancesy. How old is she? How old is Mason? I'm envisioning a young woman in her late teens, early twenties, and a guy much, much older.

    If it is indeed a cargo ship, why is she traveling alone on such a vessel? Will we find that out eventually?

    The advice about cutting verbiage is a good one. For instance,
    casting a salt water spray to sprinkle across Clara’s slender hands and forearms.
    , you've already said the spray was cast - leave out the sprinkle and simply say the waves cast a spray of salt water across her hands and forearms. If you want to suggest it was a sprinkle then perhaps you could cast a light spray.

    You've used fluttering and plastered twice in a short time. I tried to find some other words to suggest in place of them so you're changing things up a bit, like the breeze stirred her hair, ruffled her curls, tousled her hair, or the wind whipped her dress about her ankles. Which, if her dress was plastered against her, maybe there was that much wind to whip it. Just a thought. I noticed in my own writing that certain words or phrases seem to pop up too often. For one of my characters, I fell into the habit of using the phrase her perfect features. For example, A frown crossed her perfect features. I've since gone over the story and purged it of most of those references. Either changing the wording, or not referring to her face at all for that moment.

    That reference to the Further inland should come at the end of that paragraph. You start to describe the landing of the ship, cut to the inland events, then come back to the landing. Keep the landing description together. I'm guessing you're letting us know what's going on some distance from the harbor? Which is okay, once Clara is off the ship. But if she isn't off, then we probably should know that this is a scene she can see from wherever she is on it. Otherwise it feels as if we've left the ship and are there where all this is taking place. And so yes, how did we get here?

    I too, wondered about Clara walking right up to Mason after us being told he's on a deck above. Make sure you reread what you write so you catch those mistakes. I worked with an author who told me he never rereads anything he writes. Don't know if he still works that way, but wow - I had a lot of stuff to correct because he didn't. Again, we all make these kinds of mistakes. I recently caught a huge one in one of my stories that I had actually already published to Amazon. I'm surprised the reviewer who read it before I published didn't catch it. Or else she did, but chose not to mention it. Often a reviewer just talks about the story itself, and doesn't mention your mistakes. Some may do both.

    Hope this in some small way helped. And I, too, am awaiting the rest of the story!
    Writing is 3% talent and 97% not getting distracted by the Internet – Anonymous
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