Thursday, December 12, 2013

First 250 Words Smash! #40

Fortieth Author!: Carly P
Not the Fortieth Editor: Victoria
Working Title: N/A

Music and the bodies of fairies form a circle on the hill. The dancing begins with twin royals of the daoine sidhe, Dubhlainn and Aoife. Together, they stride to the center of the circle and begin to dance. As they turn, they drift apart, fingers brushing palms. They go to the guests and each selects a new partner.
Freya gasps to herself when the beautiful daoine princess pulls her into a swirling dance. Could she know that Freya, one of the ianann sidhe, wasn’t meant to be here? If she notices, she doesn’t seem to mind.
Dubhlainn searches the crowd for a partner. His gaze falls upon someone with dark hair that falls down his face and with cheekbones like cut glass. He can’t place a name to this boy, but he has the feeling he’s seen his before and he guesses he must work for the royal court. When Dubhlainn takes his hand, he notices his hands are rough and are laced with small burns. A baker, perhaps? Or was he related to the royal blacksmith? Dubhlainn focused on the dark eyes in front of him as every guest began to dance. He leaned toward the boy slightly, and whispers, “What is your name?”
“My name is Aedan. It’s good to meet you, Dubhlainn.” They both smiled.
The night was warm and they were caught in a whirlwind.

Strong Points --
Well I love me a good fairy story, let me tell you. I love seeing the whole fairy court and all of the impossible to pronounce Gaelic (at least for me) and I'm so excited for this. You've got some really nice description in here, the cheekbones like cut glass, and the mention of fingers brushing across palms as they separate. I like these little details you've snuck into the narrative, because they raise questions, especially the burns on Aedan's hands.

Some Tips --
That being said, I really wish more details have been injected here. I know we're at a ball, but I have no idea what a fairy ball might look like, and I have no hints or clues to go by. Are there decorations? Do they wear big dresses? Do they wear nothing at all? I don't know any of this. Everything has largely been left up to my own imagination, and it's left me with blank, white surroundings. As with the royals (twins?). I don't know what they look like. I don't need paragraphs and paragraphs, but this is a whole new world for me, and without that sensory description, I have nothing to translate how magical this realm is supposed to be.

Also, there is a lot of telling, a lot of unloading exposition where we do not need it. A perfect example is Freya, who we've been outright told she should not be there because of what she is. For me, this could have been communicated so much stronger through body language, through Freya's body chemistry and her fear, and then later revealed when it's necessary to know. It certainly raises its own questions, but telling us instead of showing she shouldn't be there kills the potential for a great look into her character.

For example, are Freya's palm's sweating? Is she watching the rest of the crowd over Aoife's shoulder to see if anyone notices her for what she is? Or is she so captivated by the princess that she forgets to be paranoid? Does she trip? Is it effortless to fall into step with Aoife? I would have known so much more about both of them and their situation with some more detail, and I would have become more attached to the characters themselves. Telling bypasses all of this, and just presents me with a fact that's a little colder.

Would I keep reading?
Not yet. Unfortunately, I really feel you have to slow down and take the time to weave more details into your narrative. It's a tough thing to do, to balance sensory details, characters, and the plot all at once. Our suggestion is always that you read. Read, read, read! Read your favorite authors and  figure out how it is that they paint a picture, let you know the character, and still keep you dying to know what happens next. And then we'd be so happy if you resubmitted! Thank you so much and good luck!

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