Well, the break is over, we’re getting back into the swing of normal life now. The Magpie has gone back to school after a nice visit. She was anxious to be home, but anxious to return, I’m sure, I remember those feelings well.
For today, I decided to share something I wrote yesterday in my writer’s circle. It’s a short piece, 200 or so words. Most of the time I write bits and pieces that don’t feel like they’re going anywhere. Sometimes I write a piece that immediately feels like it’s got a life behind a forty-five minute burst of writing. I’m not sure where this one fits. We used as our prompt the first six paragraphs of Jack London’s “The Heathen,” which has about as great an opening line as I’ve seen:
“I met him first in a hurricane; and though we had gone through the hurricane on the same schooner, it was not until the schooner had gone to pieces under us that I first laid eyes on him.”
That is a powerful beginning, as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, I made a conscious effort to write in an ‘older’ style, and I like what I’ve done. Part of me feels like I can do something more with it. The problem is, I have no idea what that is. Anyway, this is an untitled piece. It has not been edited beyond the circles and arrows scrawled around my notebook pages yesterday, so is still rather raw. Here you go:
|Photo copyright Natalie McNear|
Something I’ve noticed about my writing, at least when I’m writing in my writer’s group, is a tendency to really try and pack the opening paragraphs with a lot of description. When I get into longer works, I think I get better about spreading the description out more. But the short works, if I stretch into five or six hundred words or so, the description is packed in up front, and ends up being very spare on the back end. I’m thinking it’s probably a case of mental ‘throat clearing’, as they say, where I’m using the description as a way to kind of prime myself for what’s to follow. A warm-up, if you will. It’s something I have to watch for.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed that little bit, have a great week!
Ew! Serious ew! I've lived in the tropics. Ew.
I like it. Sort of soothing. Perhaps you're packing the description early on because you're used to reading novels where the first chapter or so is setting things up and generally has less dialogue and other things.
Funny ending. You're writing in an older style, you say, so more description would be normal. I didn't feel it was dense though. It fit well with the scene. It had tension that gradually grew. I think you did an excellent job of writing.
Thanks, Richard, I'm glad you liked it. It was a fun piece. And after I was finished, I continued reading 'The Heathen' and found it was definitely NOT a fun piece. I didn't get to finish, but what I read was harrowing.
That spider is terrifying. But I do like bananas. You're a good writer. Keep it up 🙂 I thought the imagery was fantastic.
As always, it's wonderful. I felt like I was there in the ship. Snug in the crevice. And btw, spiders are gross. That is all.
I'm not going to lie. I held a paper over the spider the entire time I was reading. *shudder*
Great writing, though!
I grew up on a small island in the tropics and your banana spider reference got my attention quickly. (Those bast$^ds are fast and they still make me uncomfortable.)
But my point is this: I’m no-one special, but what you have engaged me – don’t stop. I want to know more about the ship that went down under your feet. (You managed to pull me onto the deck in a scene from White Squall…) What's next?
I loved it up until the banana spider. Ugh, no thank you. But hey, that's good tension when your readers react, right?
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Dan. I wish I could take credit for that first quote, but that's Jack London. As for 'what's next?' Sadly, I don't know! I got to the end, and wrote 'What Next?' in my notebook. I'll have to give it some thought.
I'm getting a message here: No More Spiders. I'll have to remember that. And, yes, reaction is always good (unless you threw your monitor against the wall).
Awh man, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight now that I've seen that picture… we might not have banana spiders here, but they still get pretty big and pretty venomous. Really great opening you have there. The 'older' style was very effective, though I've never been able to appreciate the 'thought I' or 'said she' thing. It just feels too backwards… bleh. Now I'm thinking of Emma by Jane Austen. Bleh. But seriously, cool opening 🙂
Sorry to ruin your night, both with the picture and with making you think about about 'Emma'. Glad you liked the piece, though.
The ending made me smile, but the picture might give some people a heart attack! Your piece was nicely done, with a good flow. Sounds like an excerpt from what could be a great historical novel.
Haha all good! 🙂
I really like your descriptive writing. It gives a vivid picture of the scene!
Nicely done! And for what it's worth, I like spiders 🙂
Awesome, as always. Easily pictured. Great description. But I had to cover up that spider lest I dream about it tonight.