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  1. #11
    Dawn Prince

    Re: Opening paragraphs


    Yeah---I have the old ladies next, but I didn't want to post all of it. People don't like to read too much on the screen. I will try to work in the paragraphs elsewhere and see how that works. Thanks, I am getting the hang with all these little suggestions. Going to lie in bed and watch Pandaemonium, Iris or Big Fish--not sure. Lazy Sunday. Dawn.

  2. #12
    Garrett Hutson

    Re: Opening paragraphs

    Just a couple of technicalities:

    “We don't share any sort of resemblance except for the dark unruly, curly hair; mine shoulder and puffed out to the sides.”

    Should be “shoulder-length and puffed out.”

    “The Lilacs, which used to be his favorite, are slowly dying, and no amount of water and sunlight will keep them from their fate, and though they are wilting, they give off a haunting, lingering smell that reminds me of a smoldering, long goodbye.”

    Beautiful line—but shouldn’t it be: “The Lilacs, which were his favorite, are slowly dying….”
    Saying “used to be” implies that they once were his favorite, but stopped being his favorite sometime before he died. I don’t think that’s what you’re going for. If they were still his favorite when he died, then replace “used to be” with “were.”

    I disagree with Harper that the mystery of the photo should be revealed sooner. I like the placement that you have. It felt right to me to have all of the other details first. Just out of curiosity, I checked the word-count prior to this paragraph (from your first draft in this thread, not the second), and found it to be only 827 words—really not too long, in my opinion. What’s most important, though, is the feel of the piece being well-established before that tidbit is revealed. I like how you’ve done it. And I like having the old-ladies first, not after. It sets up the scene, and helps me visualize it all better.

    I agree with you that you should plan out how the date on the back of the picture will reveal things about the mother that the daughter never knew. I find it intriguing.

    Overall, great job for having just written it all "off the top of your head!" I'm really impressed. Keep us all posted!


  3. #13

    Re: Opening paragraphs

    Garrett -- I didn't want it sooner. I just didn't want so much slow stuff before it.

  4. #14
    Dawn Prince

    Re: Opening paragraphs

    Harper and Garrett:
    Gosh, I am a Libra! I can spend hours weighing things and having two differing opinions just makes the writing process ever so much interesting. Hmmm...I guess ultimately, it's my decision for the feel of the piece. I will worry about that once I complete the thing. focus. focus. Ta Ta.


  5. #15
    John Oberon

    Re: Opening paragraphs

    Hi, Dawn,

    I like this, but it's cluttered, my personal bugaboo. Take this paragraph:

    There are only little old ladies left on my father's side. At these things, there is always talk about what a nice little send off it was as if the dearly departed were going on some Mediterranean cruise with that Barry Mannilow song, Lola, playing in the background. I, on the other hand, never learned how to mourn properly. I can't cry on cue like Aunt Maddie does at funerals. I can’t shed big, quivery, and indistinguishable from weddings and happy occasion tears. My grief is like brown wrapping paper, concealed for my own private unraveling in the middle of the night.

    Now compare it to this:

    There are only little old ladies left on my father's side. They always huddle and cluck at funerals about it being a nice "send off", as if they were wishing bon voyage to someone departing on a cruise. I, however, never learned to mourn properly. I can't shed big, quivery tears on cue like Aunt Maddie. My grief comes in a brown paper wrapper, concealed for private consumption in the night.

    You see how when you strip away the clutter the emotion shines through? That's why I think this is good writing, just cluttered. I also think you say things in a confusing way, but ridding it of clutter would probably remedy that as well. There's a few bad word choices, like "smoldering, long goodbye". "Smoldering" smacks of the present and passion which clashes against the misty, nostalgic images of the past you paint. But clutter is the main problem, in my opinion.

  6. #16
    Dawn Prince

    Re: Opening paragraphs

    Point about clutter taken. It reads a bit smoother your way. I like the line about the brown paper wrapper as that is basically how I corrected in but ended with concealed for my private undoing in the middle of the night. Maybe, I throw too much into things. Maybe, I say too much in a short space?

    Oh, smoldering, long goodbye is the present. She is in the room and her father and as she is trying to hold onto her father, the flower reminds her of the smoldering, long goodbye. That scent will slowly fade just as the long goodbye will come to an end.

    Thanks for the input. I like what you said. Hee. Hee. Dawn

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