Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dust Faries - feedback please

In December I wrote a short story for a contest and then didn't submit it. Call me all kinds of a fool. I admit to having wussed out after reading the previous year's winner. Anyway, this month there is another contest coming up. The 1500 words of the last one now need to grow to 5000 words. I'm working on a whole different beginning. So if you wouldn't mind reading what I've done so far (this is meant to be the hook not the meat) and letting me know your thoughts, I would appreciate it no end. If the manuscript were in your hands, would you keep reading or would you toss it in the round file? Where do you think the story will go from here? Who knows, I might incorporate your idea into the final story.

I hadn’t been back in the old house since that fateful day when Simone had scooped me into her arms and carried me screaming from the nursery. I remember pounding on her shoulder, screaming “Lar’mie!” as she carried me straight out to the waiting car, away from all I’d known.

It is, perhaps, the very instinct of self preservation that causes memories to fade. Screaming nightmares were replaced with dreams in which I still had a father and brother. Always on the outer edges of the dream was the presence of Grandfather. Even now the scent of pipe tobacco will take me back to his darkly paneled study with the odd collection of obsolete weapons and fanciful paintings mounted on the wall and neatly displayed in the glass fronted cabinet.

I have to admit to a certain morbid curiosity prompting me to acquiesce to the solicitor’s demand that the reading of the will take place in Grandfather’s study. Grandfather who had paid for my expensive private schooling yet refused all these years to see my mother or me. I still struggle to reconcile my faded memories with the reality I’ve lived.

No doubt you saw the news reports of Simone ChardonnĂ©e’s murder. The story made the front cover of People Magazine and was featured on Entertainment Tonight. It wasn’t so hard, shielding my boys from the news. They barely knew their grandmother and were too young to have seen any of her movies.

She never would let me call her “Mother”. A growing daughter simply didn’t fit with her self image of the forever young “French” actress. I spent my years at boarding schools where I received occasional letters and extravagant birthday gifts.

The tickets were waiting for us at the airline counter, as promised. I was surprised that this Grandfather who had refused to even see me would have mentioned my boys in his will; provided for them to travel to his home.

The house appeared deserted. No one answered our ringing of the bell. Jason tried the knob and the door opened easily. The years seemed to melt away as I led the way across the hall, through a parlor turned library and into Grandfather’s study.

The room was even darker than I remembered. I sat down in the heavy arm chair and gave myself over to memories, borne on wings of pipe tobacco impregnated leather.


12 comments:

Trée said...

Wamblings, I think you have an excellent idea. The "hook" hooks. One wants to know more, to understand what is happening. The child kicking and screaming is one that we can all relate to and is so easy to see. Likewise, you do a great job painting the picture of what the grandfather must have been like with smell and images. I think you have a great beginning here. I say, write on!

Wamblings said...

Thanks Tree. The main part of the story is written and maybe after the contest I will be able to post it. Well, actually only 1500 words of the main part is written. I still have a long way to go. I've got nearly 400 words of beginning now. Certainly Grandfather will get a scene or two in the flash back middle section of the story. He actually had a scene before I successfully cut it down to 1500 words before. The father got that scene though because it made more sense that way. Grandfather's scene will be something different now that I know him better. The pipe smoke was the key. Oh, check out Knoxville Writer's Guild website. Free contest. :P Maybe you'll want to put together something from your story.

Franx said...

Nice story..You are great writer. If you add some picture will look more fantastic.Thanks for your comment on my blog

Wamblings said...

Franx, Thank you for stopping in and reading some of my work. The sad truth is, I have no idea how to add pictures to my blog. I'm not sure at this point that I want to anyway but sometime I may. For now, words are my pictures.

Wamblings said...

I've done a little editing, added a bit more...

jennifer said...

Hello Wamblings. I found your site through Tree. I am not a writer but I am an avid reader. My imagination makes me wonder if Grandfather refused to see her out of guilt (you mentioned self preservation, maybe his motive too?). I also like the 'smell imagery'. It is something easy to relate to, but different for everyone. Your character seems...bleak?...so far. Is that how you want her to come across? There is also a sense that she has been jaded by her mother; And she is a mother now too....will that play a part in the story? Lord Woman, if I said too much, forgive me. Quite simply, I think you write well, and YES, I would continue reading. Jennifer

Wamblings said...

I think everyone has some talent. Often enough we fail to recognize our own. I was overwhelmed and gratified by your critique of Dust Faries. You have a talent for reviewing. A very important talent. Writers need people who not only read but can write a concise critique. You're good at that! Thank you very much.

Grandfather knows that the twin survived. This is the secret he is guarding. I think my character (Larissa) has had a bleak life shuttled off to boarding schools, believing her twin dead all these years with his absence a gaping hole in her life. She has done the best she could with what she has to work with. The body of the story will show glimpses of her as a child contrasted with the woman she has become. In the end, well, the end isn't yet written. So what do you think? Does the story end when she comes face to face with her twin brother? Or do we get to know Grandfather better through the provisions of his will?

jennifer said...

Oh Wamblings, let ME tell you a story, the story of my techno-failure life. I wrote a response to you last night - Long, lots of thought, and since you will never see it, BRILLIANT!! :) I try to publish this novella of a comment and my service has gone down. And stays down. rrrrrrrrr
So, I will attempt here to capture my thoughts again. Just remember, the first version was BRILLIANT.

Grandfather figures represent Grace and Benevolence to me. If Grandfather was Grace, I don't know if it would be grace bestowed, through his will, or grace received, in the form of understanding/forgiveness.

I personally would find it easier to describe the relationship between the twins than grandfather. So, if it were my tale to tell, I could see the twins form a bond of sorts. Then the Grandfather's will could be an 'ending-whammy', like "my desire was to give you each other. That is accomplished. The money goes to....indigent dogs of America? His cat? A nonprofit org. to help family members reunite (too trite, but you get the gist).
I am forgetting something here that had occured to me last night. If I think of it I'll let you know. Your blog is very interesting. I'll keep checking in - Jennifer

Camphor said...

Intriguing beginning and the promise of something rich and dark - like the smell of 90% cocoa mint chocolate - to come... and what does come? The stomach twists and waits.

(Missed you! And you blog! Yay!)

Don't wuss out of this contest. :D

PS. I don't use blogspot anymore, but you've been to the Wordpress site...

Kathleen Mortensen said...

While I do like it and am interested in reading further, I think there may be too much going on in this first section. I'm a bit lost and the introduction of the Chardonnee person seems a bit out of place or isn't eased into the story. I do love your choice of words and you certainly set a mood and tone. I was just overwhelmed a bit by all of the information.
Kat
Having said that, I don't mean to dissuade you. I'd be the very one, like you to throw in the towel. I'm only trying to be constructive.

Wamblings said...

Camphor, I don't just blog here. :P I have other blogs that are less public and way more personal. You have my email so shoot me a note and I'll send you my other ones. Well some of them anyway. Wouldn't want to overwhelm you. This is my new blog that I hope might be seen by prospective publishers. Eeeek, I need to be careful what I write. *huge grin*

Wamblings said...

Kathleen, Yeah there is a lot of information right at the beginning of the story. Not sure what to do with all that. It is all important introductory stuff. At least I think it is important. Maybe dump Simone's last name in the paragraph about her death so it ties in better with her name in the first sentence.