In-House Critique #2

Name: Saint Ash
Title: The Thirteenth Rib
Genre: New Weird

First 250 words:
Gavin Miara always wore clean socks and an old shirt during an assassination. Clean socks because he firmly believed in having one small comfort in the long hours of a hunt, and an old shirt because the black ichor of skinshifter blood always left a stain. Today he also carried a leather case scavenged from a gutter. Blood spatter had hinted at its previous owner’s fate, but the stains had washed off easily enough and it had quickly become his favorite prop. With it swinging importantly in his hand and his brisk stride, he appeared as any other businessman walking down the busy streets of South Gemini City.
People crowded the sidewalks like bees swarming on a hive, avoiding puddles of melted snow that threatened to wet their ironed trousers. Fedoras bobbed in the presence of ladies. Gavin followed the ripple of people toward the tall glass buildings nestled in the city’s heart. A bronze clock loomed above the clustered architecture, ticking off each minute until another sky rib became visible. Fifteen of the great ribs already curved across the sky, ripping through high, thin clouds and casting shadows on great swathes of the city below.
Gavin’s mouth twisted as he glanced at the ribs, and then at the clock. He was early, and so was his target.

Readers: Would you read on? Why or why not? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What could be changed?


6 Responses to In-House Critique #2

  1. I like the beginning a lot. A great hook. I’d read on.

    I like the descriptions that you’ve provided. They provide a good mental image, so well done. I also like the metaphor (or is it a simile/analogy? I can never remember) about the people swarming like bees.

    One thing that confused me was the sky ribs. The clock ticking off the minutes until another rib sounds to me like there are new ribs appearing every couple of minutes. Yet, by stating there were only 15 ribs, it seems like the ribs appear every couple of years. I think you should clarify that. If new ribs aren’t appearing every few minutes, change what the clock is ticking off. Perhaps it’s ticking off the days/weeks/months? If the ribs DO appear every couple of minutes, perhaps explain this. Do they disappear at night?

    That’s all I can really think of. Keep up the good work!

  2. […] Scribbler) is holding an in-house critique session on his blog this week.  Check out the first two entries; mine goes up tomorrow, so if you want to have a crack at my work, drop in and have your […]

  3. Merrilee says:

    I would read on. I think the writer has done an excellent job of giving the reader a glimpse of the character and the world without dumping information.

    There’s some awkward phrasing around the “swinging in his hand and his brisk stride”.

    I loved the idea of the ribs. I wasn’t confused – I assume that there are more than 12 hours in the day?

    I like the subtle tension, and I would read on to find out who his victim is, and why he is killing him.

  4. Feywriter says:

    I like the sky ribs for use of time. Couldn’t picture it clearly, but I would assume it would be detailed more later. Definitely something unique. Unlike Scribbler, I thought the bees simile works but is overused.

    Love the opening with the clean socks and old shirt. Shows character as well as defining his current motivation.

    He looks at the clock, then says his target is early. Where is his target? If Gavin has seen him, we haven’t.

    I have no idea what New Weird genre is, but would read on based off this opening.

  5. AshN says:

    Little Scribbler — Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

    I’ll definitely clarify how the ribs work in general and in relation to the clock when I revise this chapter. Every hour, a new rib appears. 24 ribs, 24 hours. The clock ticks off the minutes in an hour. Now to slip that somewhat gracefully into the story…

    Merrilee — Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

    Yep, there are 24 hours in a day in that world; the units of time closely resemble ours.

    Feywriter — Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

    Ack! Great catch with the lack of seeing the target before noting he’s early. Will fix that in the revision.

  6. […] who sent in their excerpts for you all to critique.  If you missed any, you can see them here, here, here and […]

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