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Thread: Hello All

  1. #1
    Dawn Gale Prince
    Guest

    Hello All

    Hey All
    My Name is Dawn, and I am new to WritersNet. I came here hoping for a positive experience as I try to hone my writing skills and find my rhythm. I suppose I will go full force into it and start this off with the opening paragraphs of a short story I am working on. Comments are welcomed and greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    A Color Runs Through It

    Upstairs, in my motherís bedroom, I am chipping away at the curling, fraying wallpaper hoping to uncover, from between the layers of wallpaper and paint, my mother and the pink room that never existed. Instead, I find more layers sandwiched in between paint until I lose track of the number of layers it takes to reach my mother who has been buried underneath for years. I remember her somewhere in between the popcorn yellow and the forest green wallpaper period when she didnít look frantic in her own skin. I remember soft brown skin that wasnít encrusted with paint to hold her together from the phantom memories that constantly pecked away at her eyes until you couldnít see her soul.

    My mother is downstairs plastering and painting the ghosts from her past into the walls like she does every time her life falls apart and she needs to start a new one. She is patching the gaping holes that used to hang the pictures of them, the current version of the man of her dreams, in happier times. After the patch is dried, she sands them down into smooth blocks that resemble her checkered life. There are many of those sanded little patches all over these walls and in row houses everywhere across the city--each representing a time or a moment that was taken down and sent out with the Tuesday morning trash.

    I stick my head around the stairway as she finishes patching and priming each wall. My mother is standing like an artist thatís about to start on yet another masterpiece that will hang in the Guggenheim. She is staring at the blank white walls surveying its nothingness-- not sentimentally, but with a quiet anticipation of starting from scratch as if you could start over simply by covering up one life and starting another with the color of your choice. It is as if she had found a way to have more than one life.

    To me, that blank canvas represents a life that lives itself out in bursts and spurts of moments that blur and fade to nothingness--her life up to this point has been the sum of nothing. But to her, the blankness, the nothingness before her is her starting point. Whenever the scene fades to black, she would cry for days and it seemed like always on the seventh day, she would take a deep breath and start a new life with paint just as she would wake up every morning and create a different woman in her mirror. It is her way of giving birth to herself for the umpteenth time.



  2. #2
    Roy Abrahams
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Dawn...........This is truly good writing with but a few rough spots. I'd point out the jolting phrases myself but, as your sample is probably from a first draft, I feel one capable of writing those four short paragraphs is also capable of editing out the problems.

    Although a firestorm of suggestions for drastic changes will undoubtedly issue from others, you would do well to retain the flavor and voice now making this short section so interesting. After all, it is your story in your voice and you know where you are taking it. Don't be swayed into thinking a remake based on others' preferences is in order.

    Best wishes for success.

    Roy

  3. #3
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Gee Roy, thanks. You are right, it is a first draft and I can see the jolting phrases. Please feel free to point them out. It is the kind of thing where you must get rid of the line or phrase that makes the reading not flow, but we tend to want to hold onto our babies. I am in the learning stages. smile. But, it is cold, raw unedited writing, and I just wanted to see what others think. Every little bit of encouragement and criticism helps. Much appreciated. dawn.

  4. #4
    Ruth-Ann Jackson
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Hi -- your ideas are interesting and I would enjoy seeing the final draft of this. I would only suggest at this point that you avoid using words that have very similar meanings in the same sentence, such as "bursts" and "spurts", using just one of these would get the idea accross more succinctly.

  5. #5
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Thank you Ruth-Ann.

    Ah, you learn something new everyday...reading a lot about common mistakes new writers make. I read and think, gee that makes a lot of sense or I would have never thought of that. There is a lot to writing well and I appreciate you pointing out about"bursts" and "spurts", I would have never noticed that. I get the idea.

    I have been looking at some of the stuff I have written and since reading alot about writing, I am beginning to notice things. I have discovered that you must show the story, not tell the story. Learning everyday. Its' been since February 2005 that I decided to re-invent myself as a writer. Maybe emerge is a better word, but the point is I know that I need to take a leap of faith and just write. The learning never stops and I intend to soak up all that I can from this forum.

    On a different note, isn't it funny, how fear prevents us from doing what we should be doing. I am usually a solitary writer. Joined this group about 2 years ago I think, and did not have the courage to post anything at that time. So, it's like I have just joined because this is the first time that I have even looked at a message board or forum. This is the first time I have had the courage to post to any forum anywhere. The re-inventing continues. Once again, I appreciate the feedback. Thanks again. Dawn.

  6. #6
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Dawn,

    I may be mistaken, but I'm almost sure that I've read some of this somewhere before. Are you sure you haven't posted this excerpt on this forum or another writing forum? It just seems very familiar to me. Nice use of metaphor, btw.

  7. #7
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Hello Jeanne:
    Nada. This is my first post on a forum ever. Too shy. And I just wrote this about 3 weeks ago, and so these are virgin words from a forum virgin. smile. Thanks for the metaphor thingy. Dawn

  8. #8
    jill smith
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Dawn,
    On a whole, this excerpt shows great promise.The images are masterful but I agree your choice of the picture needs some smoothing with words of description comparing the contrast between mother and daughter's artistic skills to their different canvasses.

    Secondly, you might try letting your voice of these women flow a little more with trimming down of the excess wordiness to make a better roast. Once you've trimmed the fat, the meat will be succulent and tasty to the reader.

    Welcome to WN,
    Jill Smith

  9. #9
    Dawn Prince
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Hello Jill
    Thanks for the critique. I Always appreciate input. Oh, it isn't about art, it is about a daughter trying to uncover the mother she used to know. Putting up and peeling away wallpaper, and painting is my way of showing the concealing and revealing that interplays in our daily lives. Like the artist, the mother uses paint to create herself and her life while the daughter is trying to take down the canvas in search of the mother who is encased behind the walls covered in paint. Thanks again. Dawn.

  10. #10
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Hello All

    Dear Dawn:

    I picked up on your intent immediately and that's exactly how I envisioned what she was doing. Thank you for clarifying that for me - with all due respect, Jill's review threw me off a little. For a minute there, I thought I was really out in left field.

    congratulations on the encouraging and positive feedback you're getting!

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