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Hey!! What's the story?

A picture or painting often tells a complete story, write this story.

This prompt is somewhat in line with the picture competition I once did on the main site. Not only are they great ways to develop a scene, the different versions people can come up with are also great to read.

I've posted two picture here. One is seems cheerful, while the other is a little darker (speaking figuratively) The goals is to write a scene about one (or both) of the pictures.

As always the scene should be around 400-500 words and doesn't necessarily have to be completed.

note: I do not own or take credit for these pictures. The second is a painted by Marek Okon called "Rain" (one of my all time favorite paintings)

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Thanks! I love the first picture and it has given me a great idea for a scene in a novella that I am writing. I shall try and get it looking ship shape and then I'll post it! This may take time...;-)

Sparrow Fall.

(A scene from a longer story called The Touched)

by N.O.A. Rawle

Streaks of magenta burned the horizon edging the clouds in glitter. Against them as the hunter’s silhouette grew larger as he stalked her, his presence forever drawing closer. Wind rattled through the beech trees turning their silversides to the dusk. To the air! To the air! they seemed to whisper in their rustling tones. Glancing once more to the hunter’s encroaching form, Xenia raised her hands to the darkening sky her heart thundering in her chest in anticipation of what she was about to try.

“Volem cum ave!” She screamed into the coming night.

All about her, clouds of sparrows rose up from the tilled fields in dark swathes and wheeled in the dusk light gathering strength, building momentum. With her feet planted firmly in the rich earth she braced herself. When the first creature hit it felt like her soul had been pierced but then they battered her, a barrage of tiny feathered bodies colliding with hers. There was no pause in their flight path, her physical presence formed no barrier, rather they passed through her, each time taking a part of her until disembodied but soul intact she was transported en masse and vanished completely, absorbed into the night.

NOTE: The Latin might be a bit off - don't trust Google translate too much!

Would love to hear what you think. Bear in mind the scene is completely out of context.

Hi Naomi,

I've read your scene and prepared some feedback for it. This is mostly from the things I noticed when reading through it.

First up, I love how you were able to convey so much information and story in a relatively short scene. The amount of tension you were able to build in it (particularly in the first paragraph) made for a very engaging scene to read. Even without description of the hunter or environment the scene feels tense. This off course encourages the reader to read on, which is always good. Nice job on that.

One thing I noticed was in the paragraph with dialogue. After the Latin you started with a capital (She), this should have been lowercase (she). (I'm not sure if you know this 'rule' about dialogue, so I'll write it down.If you do, and it was a simple error, feel free to ignore this) I believe it's a rule of thump, at least according to research, that the dialogue tags (She/ He said) should always be part of the sentence. This means that at there should always be a comma (,) at the and. "Volem cum ave," she said. The same applies to other punctuation (! ?) Even if the dialogue 'ends' with this the tag still has to be lowercase. "Volem cum ave!" she said. This was just something I notice and I couldn't seem to help to make sure that you knew. You said you were writing this in a novella, make sure you apply this everywhere. It's a pain to try an fix this halfway through (trust me, I know)

The last thing I want to talk about is the word use and sentence structure. It's clear that you have a broad vocabulary and are not afraid to use this in your writing. This is good, since it eliminates repetitive words and allows for greater detail easily. However, I kind of had the feeling it was a bit 'too much' at times. It seemed as if every noun had at least one or two adjectives (rich soil, darkening sky) While is good in the way that in allows for greater detail. But be careful you don't overdo it. It can clog up your writing and if a reader notices it (like I did) it could potentially become annoying. I realize this might simply be your writing style, and I'm not saying you should cut it all out. Just be aware of it.

As for sentence structure, I usually measure this with the help of my dyslexia. If I have trouble reading through it, I start looking for the cause of it. In yours I found some sentences too long too properly read in one go. Particularly the last one has a lot of comma's in it. This isn't a problem immediately, but I still think you should know. Like the word use, this can distract the reader and take away from your writing. Don't be a afraid to add a few periods in it, to give the reader some breathing room. The best writing is often a combination of long and short sentences. Because its this variation that makes it sound beautiful. Like a poem.

Somehow I managed to write my feedback longer than your scene, aah well. Anyway, don't think that because I've noticed some things that it's bad. I've just taken some small things and tried to put them in perspective. I honestly had to try hard to find something to comment about, which is a good thing, because I enjoyed the writing.

I take it this is part of a novella. If you'd write an entire book like this I would have no complains reading it. It's full of tension and excellent variation in word use. And the concept of the story really peaks my interest. (I want to know what's going to happen) I hope this feedback shows you how you could make a great piece even better. Hopefully this feedback is useful to you.

Good luck and keep on writing,

Pim 

Hi Pim,

Thanks for the super comments and the encouragement. I agree with you on the last sentence, too long-winded. The 'she said' thing is an error. However did I miss it?!

The work is my first conscious fantasy piece - see my earlier discussion to understand what I mean. It's one of those ones that has been littering my brain for too long and I'm now trying to tie it up and get it posted off to a publisher. Let's see... 

Thanks again,

Naomi

I know I am probably late on this but I just found you folks. I wrote up this little quick tale from the first photo. While the notes above seem to be for continuing scenes, I thought I would do just a simple flash fiction piece.

Operation: Find Peace

By Lisa Williamson

 

I stand, waiting, seed in my palm. I have done this, day after day, for what seems like weeks now. My prey flutters about me, never quite settling down onto my outstretched hand. Are they afraid of me? I offer no threat, just this collection of seeds that I know they would enjoy. Maybe if I settle down on this wall, try to be as still as a statue, they will come and eat what I offer.

 

You ask me why I do this? Well, you see I enjoy the little lives that flutter about this cold and tired city. The rush, rush of humanity and the noise from all the mechanical things fill my head so much that I need this attempt at finding peace. Finding nature in the middle of the cold, hard towers of glass and steel is difficult at bet, but I continue my quest. Focusing down, I ignore the cars and buses that pass me by, the people who are chattering away on their cell phones and find that still, quite place deep inside.

 

As I find my center, I feel a light touch on the tips of my fingers. Slowly, I open one eye and then smile as the first sparrow comes to land, his claws clutching my sleeve for balance. He cocks his head to the side then swiftly darts his beak into the seed resting in my palm. With a happy chirp he calls his friends to the bounty I have offered. A dozen black-capped chickadees flutter toward me now, soft feathers fluttering just loud enough for me to hear them over the sounds of the street.

 

They chirp and flutter, first one and then the others coming to enjoy the bounty that I have offered to them. The bravest little one settles on my thumb and cocking his head to study me, he talks to me in the language of birds. Sweet sounds that I wish I understood.

 

Operation successful, peace has been found. I have an oasis of calm in the center of the city, if only for a few moments. As the seed disappears, so do my little friends. The last, the brave one, rubs his head against my thumb in thanks and then flies off into the gray skies, in search of something else. Tomorrow I will return, this time with more seeds and maybe some nuts. I wonder if I can attract the squirrels in the park the same way?

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