1.07.2007

Hh Com Rd 2 - #17 (193/189)

Hook here


Rosemary paused in the milking, her hands falling to her side, just in time to hear a whisper of a voice. Rosemary shushed the disgruntled cow with a quick slap on the flank and listened harder. She was used to these whispers: they followed her ever since her family had moved to the farm. Rosemary mentioned them only once, because her parents gave her odd looks when
she said, "Momma, I think I heard voices in the garden today."

But her parents were off traveling now, and surely no one would see her casually lie down on the ground. Surely no one would notice if she pressed her ear against the stable floor and listened.

"It's all well enough that he's upset. I understand that, really. But the political ramifications-"

"It's not even the political side of it, you know. The amount of Dust he's using could severely damage his health!"

"I hope the Queen doesn't find out about this."

Rosemary frowned and pressed her ear to the ground even harder, oblivious to the fact that the cows were mooing very loudly and a barn mouse had stopped to gaze at this peculiar human girl who seemed to be listening to the earth move. She glanced at it, and then turned her attention back to the voices.

"I wonder if the rest of us will be sent here, soon."

"It's quite possible. The King is in such a temper."

Rosemary bit the inside of her lip and pressed even harder against the ground.

"Do you suppose the Queen is still missing?"

"Well, after he did what he did-"

"Shh!"

"What?"

"…I think I hear something above us."

Rosemary swore, and then clapped her hand to her mouth. Unfortunately, this caused her to (she then) lose (lost) her balance, and she fell flat against the ground and scraped her elbow.

When Rosemary righted herself, the voices were silent.

Rosemary let out a frustrated grumble and rubbed her arm, idly pondering the voices. They were peculiar voices, she remembered, high, squeaky, almost like chittering. They sounded like they were coming from very small voice boxes, not from human throats at all.

"Maybe they were fairies," Rosemary mused. "Fairies would be interesting. I haven't seen fairies before. Fairies are only supposed to appear to small children, though. Maybe it's imps."

Rosemary shook her head. Imps would be such a problem. The round-bellied, pointy-eared creatures stood only as tall as your heel, but they still managed to pull off all kinds of
tricks that haunted you until you died. Rosemary could still remember when an imp had jinxed her Sunday dress to fall apart as soon as she entered Church. It was difficult enough to explain to her mother that it wasn't her fault, but the imps had spent all night giggling, and Rosemary couldn't get to sleep.

"Imps would not be good." She sighed, standing up.

"Augh. I need some air…" She picked up the bucket of milk and walked out of the barn, grimacing as the sun hit her face. She glanced downwards for a moment, letting her eyes adjust to the sudden brightness.

Something in the grass wavered.

It was a run in the grass, a little movement that went against the flow of the wind. It trembled again and again. Rosemary blinked to make sure she wasn't seeing things. When she was sure that she wasn't she peered down into the grass. There it was again! She followed it, oblivious to the weight of the milk bucket in her hands - and then it was gone.

Rosemary frowned, and then took a step.

And another.

Her foot caught in a hole in the ground.

She fell forwards. (forward)

The milk arched in the air in a glorious white-yellow ribbon, suspended for an instant, against all odds, against gravity, against the pale blue sky.

And then the milk - and Rosemary - fell to the ground with a splat.

"Ow!"

Rosemary groaned loudly as the milk quickly turned the dirt into stinking, curdling mud. She sat up and examined her foot. It was still caught in the hole, and her ankle was swelling. Rosemary muttered darkly under her breath. How was she supposed to work on the
farm with a sprained ankle? To make matters worse, her parents were gone, and what if they should come back and the farm was in ruin? Rosemary gingerly pulled her ankle out of the hole, cursing her miserable luck - and stopped.

She hadn't said "Ow."


This is really really over written. You do NOT have to describe every last action. Let your reader fill in some of story. Take out EVERYTHING in blue or purple ink to see what I mean.

And "she mused" and "this caused her to" (instead of "said" and "she lost her balance") are the kinds of things that make me stop reading right then and there.

My comments for the hook said it would all come down to the writing, so this would be one of the dreaded form letter "not right for me". I like the idea, but it's not polished enough.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Over-writing happens to the best of us and in my opinion is one of the easier things to fix.

Take Miss Snark's cue and see what extra, flowery words and explantaions you can cut out all the way through the novel. It will make what remains much more potent.

Good luck!

dana p said...

The writing in the hook was delightful -- tight, snazzy, funny. It's obvious that the author has talent... now s/he just needs to bring that same sharpness to the book as a whole. (Easy for me to say, right? But a lot of work. But *so* worth it, if the book can live up to the hook.)

The author said...

Miss Snark, thank you for your words of wisdom. Upon rereading my novel with a sharper eye, I noticed how dreadfully I indulged in purple prose.

There will be pruning, and it will be drastic.

Thanks for the encouraging comments.

Karen said...

Rosemary, Rosemary, Rosemary ~ take out at least five of them ~ after a while they were all I could see. Took my attention off the story completely.

Inkwolf said...

Sounds like a promising beginning to the story--hope you get it up to snuff!

Zany Mom said...

Overwriting can definitely be fixed. Bring on the pruning shears. This sounds like something my kids would read.

McKoala said...

I had to go and look up the hook then I remembered the fairies-turned-gophers.

This doesn't read all that smoothly to me. There seemed to be a lot of telling. Some nice images though, I liked the milk, but even there:

The milk arched in the air in a glorious white-yellow ribbon, suspended for an instant, against all odds, against gravity, against the pale blue sky.

... I think that 'against all odds, against gravity' could go for a sharper paragraphy.

I still think the fairies-turned-gophers are a charming idea. But would something like 'It wasn't her that had said 'ow'' be a little clearer in the last para? It may just be me that tripped on that though.

Anonymous said...

When you write, everthing that you, the writer, think is clever, cute, wonderful beyond words, most precious, beautiful, couldn't have been said better, etc, etc... these are your children.

Kill them... and you'll never over-write!

Haste yee back ;-)