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Is This Mournful? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I'm moving into a scene that's a pilgrimage to Heather's unmarked grave and so want the language to reflect mournfulness. I've gone for some ambiguity and poetic license here too. Thoughts on that would be welcome too.

Sleep came in drifts that night, sometimes the mournfulness of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead, and other times the raking cold of snow buffeting against barn doors. They prised open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them.

Arthur had no time for food in the morning, his gullet and gut could only tolerate strong coffee. He sipped at it until the cup was empty. Fuel for his tired mind, nothing more. After a reassuring kiss on his cheek, Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.

Soon, the churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the carefully placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares. The first spots of rain dissolved on the sandstone buildings, dripped from thatched roofs and tittered on the many parked cars along Brook Street. From left to right, the village dipped and turned, respectful of the landscape, without spite.

Arthur stopped after he crossed Brook street, watching the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook. Regardless of the overcast sky and the light rain, it was too picturesque to imagine such a deed taking place here. Lie or no, some part of him would be more than willing to forgive, but not today.

He could make out the edge of the cemetery as he crossed the arched, stone bridge over Dressman’s Brook, shy of the whitewashed wooden church that dominated the scene. It’s tall steeple, topped with an engraved cross, cast a long shadow across Shacklton Road, as the sun peeped briefly above its rooftop and bled in a wounded sky.

The heavens closed around it as he walked past the church, the raindrops more persistent, the belly of the clouds thickened and bruised. Still, he was unhurried though. A storm would be a fitting escort he thought, as he picked his way between history and grief, fresh flowers and dried remnants, the remembered and the forgotten. Until he came upon the willow tree and an unmarked grave.
 
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EternalGreen

Senior Member
That's pretty good. I like it. It strikes me as . . . tormented (except for the second sentence. I don't understand that).
Sleep came in drifts that night, sometimes the mournful drifts I would avoid using "drifts" again here; it kind of trips the tongue. of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead, and other times the raking cold of snow buffeting against barn doors.

You might try to write the first sentence with heavier punctuation, such as:

Sleep came in drifts that night: sometimes the [different noun: flurries? gusts? wisps?] of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead; and other times the raking cold of snow buffering against barn doors.


Either prized open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them. If you mean "pried" open (as in a nightmare) you still don't need the adjective "weary."

With a reassuring kiss on his cheek the following morning, That doesn't sound sad and mournful; it sounds comforting. Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.


So anyway, it's very good. The first sentence, for example, could be platinum-tier if you tweaked it. I wanted a little more of that: his sleepless nights, his torment. But you move on so quickly.

 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
That's pretty good. I like it. It strikes me as . . . tormented (except for the second sentence. I don't understand that).
Sleep came in drifts that night, sometimes the mournful drifts I would avoid using "drifts" again here; it kind of trips the tongue. of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead, and other times the raking cold of snow buffeting against barn doors.

You might try to write the first sentence with heavier punctuation, such as:

Sleep came in drifts that night: sometimes the [different noun: flurries? gusts? wisps?] of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead; and other times the raking cold of snow buffering against barn doors.


Either prized open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them. If you mean "pried" open (as in a nightmare) you still don't need the adjective "weary."

With a reassuring kiss on his cheek the following morning, That doesn't sound sad and mournful; it sounds comforting. Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.


So anyway, it's very good. The first sentence, for example, could be platinum-tier if you tweaked it. I wanted a little more of that: his sleepless nights, his torment. But you move on so quickly.


It was a choice between repeating 'drifts' (for a rhythmic effect) or changing it to 'mournfulness'. I'll consider the latter. Yeah, I meant 'pried'! The trouble with removing 'weary' is it speeds up the opening of the eyes. The kiss is meant to be comforting. :) I let the rest of the paragraph give it context rather than writing something like 'Sarah tried to give Arthur a comforting kiss the following morning, but it didn't work.'

But, is it mournful? Is the language in line with going to a cemetery?

edit: My mistake, I meant 'prised'. I spelt it with a 'z' by mistake.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
Like I said, I think it's tormented.

"Mournful" is not the word that came to mind, but I wouldn't stress about it until the project is complete.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Like I said, I think it's tormented.

"Mournful" is not the word that came to mind, but I wouldn't stress about it until the project is complete.

I don't stress lol. Ok, I'll give it some thought then. Perhaps the juxtaposition between the nights sleep and the walk needs more space between to separate the two different emotions. I think I might add a small paragraph just before the kiss.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
To me ... yeah, it works. You capture the mood really well. Standout things for me are word choices (eg "respectful of the landscape and not spiting it"[/FONT]) and external descriptions ("[FONT=&quot]the churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the carefully placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares").
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
To me ... yeah, it works. You capture the mood really well. Standout things for me are word choices (eg "respectful of the landscape and not spiting it"[/FONT]) and external descriptions ("[FONT=&Verdana]the churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the carefully placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares").

I'm going through a patch were I hate everything I write. It happens occasionally for some reason, so it's good to at least know it did what I wanted it to.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I'm going through a patch were I hate everything I write. It happens occasionally for some reason, so it's good to at least know it did what I wanted it to.

Lol, what a fix to be in. I hate to break it to you, but your readers want more of the stuff it pains you to write ... meanwhile, let us know when you get to the "could I actually ... be a literary genius?" stage of reviewing your work;)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Lol, what a fix to be in. I hate to break it to you, but your readers want more of the stuff it pains you to write ... meanwhile, let us know when you get to the "could I actually ... be a literary genius?" stage of reviewing your work;)

LOL. Yeah right ... 'smoke > ass' if I ever dare ask. Promise!
 

Matchu

Senior Member
[FONT=&Verdana]Sleep came in drifts that night, [. ? S] sometimes the mournful drifts of cherry blossom across the stone [pillars?]flowers of the dead, (and) other times the raking cold of snow buffeted ing [against] barn doors. Either prised open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them.

[/FONT]Arthur had no time for food in the morning, his gullet [and gut] could only tolerate [strong] coffee. He sipped [at it] until the cup was empty, fuel for his tired mind, nothing more. After a [reassuring] kiss upon his cheek, Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.

[FONT=&Verdana]
[Soon,] T the churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the carefully placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares. The first spots of rain dissolved on the sandstone buildings, dripped from thatched roofs and tittered on the many parked cars along Brook Street. From left to right, the village dipped and turned, respectful of the landscape and not spiting it.

Arthur stopped after he crossed Brook street, watched ing the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook. Regardless of the overcast sky and the light rain, it was far too picturesque to imagine such a deed taking place here. Lie or not, some part of him would be more than willing to forgive, but not today.

Okay, so I took your fragment , made a couple of adjustments and sold it to Faber & Faber for 2.6 million.

[/FONT]
[FONT=&Verdana]Sleep came in drifts. Sometimes mournful drifts of cherry blossom blown across stone pillars of the dead, other times the raking snow buffeted barn doors. He prised open eyelids in the darkness before returning to his barn. [bit shit, the barn bit from me]

[/FONT] no time for food in the morning, his gullet tolerated coffee. He sipped coffee until the cup was empty, fuel for his tired mind. A] kiss upon cheek, Arthur set to for the cemetery. In shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like remnants of the night.

[FONT=&Verdana]
churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares. The first spots of rain dissolved on sandstone buildings, dripped from thatched roofs and tittered (euch) many cars parked along Brook Street. From left to right side, the village dipped and turned

he crossed Brook street, watched the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook. An overcast sky and the light rain, it was too picturesque. Imagine such a deed taking place here?. Lie or not, some part of his mind would be more than willing to forgive murder, but not today.

[/FONT]
Just for play, for you to mess with , all best[/FONT][FONT=&Verdana]
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
[FONT=&Verdana]Sleep came in drifts that night, [. ? S] sometimes the mournful drifts of cherry blossom across the stone [pillars?]flowers of the dead, (and) other times the raking cold of snow buffeted ing [against] barn doors. Either prised open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them.

[/FONT]Arthur had no time for food in the morning, his gullet [and gut] could only tolerate [strong] coffee. He sipped [at it] until the cup was empty, fuel for his tired mind, nothing more. After a [reassuring] kiss upon his cheek, Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.

[FONT=&Verdana]
[Soon,] T the churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the carefully placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares. The first spots of rain dissolved on the sandstone buildings, dripped from thatched roofs and tittered on the many parked cars along Brook Street. From left to right, the village dipped and turned, respectful of the landscape and not spiting it.

Arthur stopped after he crossed Brook street, watched ing the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook. Regardless of the overcast sky and the light rain, it was far too picturesque to imagine such a deed taking place here. Lie or not, some part of him would be more than willing to forgive, but not today.

Okay, so I took your fragment , made a couple of adjustments and sold it to Faber & Faber for 2.6 million.

[/FONT]
[FONT=&Verdana]Sleep came in drifts. Sometimes mournful drifts of cherry blossom blown across stone pillars of the dead, other times the raking snow buffeted barn doors. He prised open eyelids in the darkness before returning to his barn. [bit shit, the barn bit from me]

[/FONT] no time for food in the morning, his gullet tolerated coffee. He sipped coffee until the cup was empty, fuel for his tired mind. A] kiss upon cheek, Arthur set to for the cemetery. In shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like remnants of the night.

[FONT=&Verdana]
churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the placed stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares. The first spots of rain dissolved on sandstone buildings, dripped from thatched roofs and tittered (euch) many cars parked along Brook Street. From left to right side, the village dipped and turned

he crossed Brook street, watched the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook. An overcast sky and the light rain, it was too picturesque. Imagine such a deed taking place here?. Lie or not, some part of his mind would be more than willing to forgive murder, but not today.

[/FONT]
Just for play, for you to mess with , all best

I originally had 'both' rather than 'either' but opted for 'either' because it's a less harsh word. That's one sentence I will be reconsidering in the rewrites. I might remove 'carefully' there. I put it in, took it out, put it in, took it out ... a few times. It just struck me that placing down flagstones carefully felt a tad more in line with the tone I was going for. Gentler rather than simply 'there', but I will revisit that in the rewrite. 'Far' I will likely lose in the rewrites. Overtly mentioning 'murder' I decided wasn't necessary. I allowed myself some poetic licence there (in line with what I was going for) and the previous big scene was of the murder, so think that's not taking too much liberty.

The other things I'm not entirely sure about. Too clipped and it loses the flow of the style and increases the speed of reading. This is a scene I want to put down respectfully and gently rather like putting down a wreath on a grave ...
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I've added more to the scene because it's nearly finished. Is it a little 'too' poetic there? I'm typing this through gritted teeth while scrunching my nose and making a 'nnnnnnnnnnnnn' sound in the back of my throat.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
In the quest to create mournfulness I think perhaps this has wavered over into purple prose, Az. And I don't think ambiguity is a good thing to aim for.

[FONT=&Verdana]Sleep came in drifts that night, sometimes the mournfulness of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead, and other times the raking cold of snow buffeting against barn doors.
[/FONT]
Drifts, cherry blossoms, stone flowers, raking cold, barn doors...too much churning unrelatedness. Choosing one metaphor to develop would work better. And I challenge you to not use 'mournfulness' anywhere if you're trying to evoke mournfulness.[FONT=&Verdana]

They prised open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them.
[/FONT]
This sounds like someone from the first sentence is prising open people's eyelids and then a mysterious 'he' is being sent back to these same prisers by being tired. Ambiguity is not good.[FONT=&Verdana]
[/FONT]

[FONT=&Verdana]Arthur had no time for food in the morning, his gullet and gut could only tolerate strong coffee. He sipped at it until the cup was empty. Fuel for his tired mind, nothing more.
[/FONT]
Okay, we've trudged through three sentences about how Arthur is drinking coffee for utilitarian reasons. Arthur may be bummed out but don't make us suffer for it. It would still be plenty mournful to cut this to one sentence and get Arthur on the road.[FONT=&Verdana]
After a reassuring kiss on his cheek,
[/FONT]
This sounds like Arthur just kissed himself because nobody else seemed to be with him. Unless it's that lurking mysterious 'they' from the first line.[FONT=&Verdana]
Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.
[/FONT]
[FONT=&Verdana]Pick "Arthur set off for the cemetary" OR "he began his pilgrimage", not both. Repetition is not mournful.
I do like the word-picture 'a shadow without a sun'[/FONT]
[FONT=&Verdana]
[/FONT]

...and so on and so forth.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
In the quest to create mournfulness I think perhaps this has wavered over into purple prose, Az. And I don't think ambiguity is a good thing to aim for.

[FONT=&Verdana]Sleep came in drifts that night, sometimes the mournfulness of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead, and other times the raking cold of snow buffeting against barn doors.
[/FONT]
Drifts, cherry blossoms, stone flowers, raking cold, barn doors...too much churning unrelatedness. Choosing one metaphor to develop would work better. And I challenge you to not use 'mournfulness' anywhere if you're trying to evoke mournfulness.[FONT=&Verdana]

They prised open weary eyelids in the darkness before fatigue sent him back to them.
[/FONT]
This sounds like someone from the first sentence is prising open people's eyelids and then a mysterious 'he' is being sent back to these same prisers by being tired. Ambiguity is not good.[FONT=&Verdana]
[/FONT]

[FONT=&Verdana]Arthur had no time for food in the morning, his gullet and gut could only tolerate strong coffee. He sipped at it until the cup was empty. Fuel for his tired mind, nothing more.
[/FONT]
Okay, we've trudged through three sentences about how Arthur is drinking coffee for utilitarian reasons. Arthur may be bummed out but don't make us suffer for it. It would still be plenty mournful to cut this to one sentence and get Arthur on the road.[FONT=&Verdana]
After a reassuring kiss on his cheek,
[/FONT]
This sounds like Arthur just kissed himself because nobody else seemed to be with him. Unless it's that lurking mysterious 'they' from the first line.[FONT=&Verdana]
Arthur set off for the cemetery. A shadow without a sun, he began his pilgrimage, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.
[/FONT]
[FONT=&Verdana]Pick "Arthur set off for the cemetary" OR "he began his pilgrimage", not both. Repetition is not mournful.
I do like the word-picture 'a shadow without a sun'[/FONT]
[FONT=&Verdana]
[/FONT]

...and so on and so forth.

Mournfulness bothered me to! lol. The kiss on the cheek, yes, I'll be putting Sarah in the next write-through of that scene. Too poetic then. Noted and, to my chagrin, agreed with. Bloody hell. I'll look into everything you've said here and get on it before I go into the next section. CHEERS!!!

Sleep came in drifts that night, sometimes the drifts of cherry blossom across the stone flowers of the dead, and other times the raking cold of snow buffeting against barn doors. He woke many times in the darkness before slipping back into dreams.

Arthur had no stomach for food in the morning, only strong coffee. Fuel for his tired mind, nothing more. After a reassuring kiss on his cheek from Sarah, Arthur began his pilgrimage, a shadow without a sun, clouds brooding like a remnant of the night.

Soon, the churned grit and mud of the dirt road gave way to the stonework of Darrowdale’s thoroughfares. The first spots of rain dissolved on the sandstone buildings, dripped from thatched roofs and tittered on the many parked cars along Brook Street. From left to right, the village dipped and turned, respectful of the landscape, without spite.

Arthur stopped after he crossed Brook street, watching the water chuckle and slosh along Dressman’s brook. Regardless of the overcast sky and the light rain, it was too picturesque to imagine such a terrible deed taking place here. Lie or no, some part of him would be more than willing to forgive, but not today.

He could make out the edge of the cemetery as he crossed the arched, stone bridge over Dressman’s Brook, shy of the whitewashed wooden church that dominated the scene. Its tall steeple, topped by a cross, cast a long shadow across Shacklton Road, as the sun peeped briefly above its rooftop and bled in a wounded sky.

The heavens closed around it as he walked past the church, the raindrops more persistent, the belly of the clouds thickened and bruised. Still, he was unhurried though. A storm would be a fitting escort he thought, as he picked his way between history and grief, fresh flowers and dried remnants, the remembered and the forgotten. Until he came upon the willow tree and an unmarked grave.
 
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