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The Walshingham Effect

by Sam


I've been researching stupid roanoke for like a month now...time to have fun. I'm not feeling it as much as Hourglass, but it will come with time, I think...

Bristol, 1586

“Do not be saucy with me, boy!” Master Harlan cuffed me with the flat of his hand, his fat lips parting like giant pink caterpillars and spraying me with spittle. The side of a particular diamond ring nipped my skin, and I could feel the spot throbbing, threatening to let the blood flow through.

“All I was asking-“ He pulled out his money pouch and exposed part of a coin, a shilling. I averted my eyes and shrank slowly away into the crowd, Master following me in hot pursuit.

All I was asking was for the money for my return…honestly…

The salty smell of the sea blew through the air, mingled with the sweat and stench of the hundreds of people milling around me. Seagulls swarmed over head, cawing and squawking and making a huge ruckus while flapping their great creamy white wings. Below me, the wharf creaked and groaned under the weight of all the people pushing past me, threatening to give in and sink down into the fathomless ocean.

“And where would ye be headin’, m’boy?” A grubby, toothless old man in a soiled shirt asked me. I looked into his eyes, a cold and mirthless black, like coal.

“V-…Virginia.” I stuttered and pushed past him, jostling into a young lady who was holding a sticky child, who yelped with delight and grabbed at my hair. I evaded his grasp and headed further and further into the crowd, never stopping to look back to Master Harlan, though I knew he must be following, his giant belly swaying and his chubby arms raised, ready to strike any who got in his way.

I was looking for the red-haired lady, with the purple gown, as had been described to me in the letter. My eyes darted along the wharf, jumping from ship to ship, past tall masts and sails billowing in the wind. Giant cannons peeked through holes in some of the ships, the Navy ships. On board, finely dressed officers and tattooed sailors mingled, the only place they ever would. On the ships, the common folk and the rich were thrown together, and usually…usually they accepted each other. My father, when he was alive, served in the Navy, and he told of such things.

When he was alive…

With a final scan of the dock, I spotted her. It HAD to be her. The purple-gowned lady with the red hair. Tentatively, I walked forward, struggling past a cluster of girls talking and giggling excitedly. I stepped in front of her and bowed quickly, and the lady nodded in acknowledgement. I found it funny she didn’t curtsy…

“Are you- are you, um, Eleanor Dare, madam?” I finally choked the words out, forcing myself to look into her eyes. Her face split into a grin.

“Yes, I am. And you must be…”

“Samuel.” In the next few seconds, I was pulled into a bone-crushing hug by the newly introduced Eleanor, her arms wound around me and I could smell her perfume, like soft, pink rose petals…

“We’ll be great friends, Samuel.” I frowned, though it was a good thing she couldn’t see me. The statement seemed so…strange somehow.

Maybe we shall, maybe we shall…


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Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:10 am
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Misty says...



You wrote this when you were eleven? hmmm...I had hoped it was a new story. Ah well. It was interesting, very in-depth and I'm curious for more although if it's that old I doubt if I'll get more.




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Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:47 am
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Boni_Bee says...



Wow, intersting story... and that was a good critique, Snoink! I agree with you... especially the part with the kid who is sticky...

Good job :D




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:38 am
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Snoink says...



Eh... she wrote that when she was 11. She's writing much much better now. I just decided to revive this topic. Why? Because I'm mean like that, lol. Besides, it looked interesting. :)




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:33 am
Jiggity says...



Omg, talk about analytical kill.

I enjoyed it, pure and simple. And Im going to have to echo Firestarter: "Are you really 12?? You write, like way to well for a twelve year old"




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Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:40 am
Snoink wrote a review...



Oh! I do like this story, perhaps even better than the little of Hourglass I’ve read. Did you ever continue this, or is it just hanging still?


“Do not be saucy with me, boy!” Master Harlan cuffed me with the flat of his hand, his fat lips parting like giant pink caterpillars and spraying me with spittle. The side of a particular diamond ring nipped my skin, and I could feel the spot throbbing, threatening to let the blood flow through.


I think you should separate this paragraph into two paragraphs, the dialogue being pulled apart from the rest of the description. You really have a very catchy beginning, but when “Master Harlan” runs in with the first sentence, it dampens the effect.

You say Master Harlan. The problem is, (and forgive me if I’m wrong) I believe “master” is the title given to a young boy and “mister” is given to a man of age. Now, I’m not sure how correct that is in this situation, but that was always how I learned it. Perhaps you should do a little bit more research?

You’re missing several commas in the second sentence, which make it look strange.

Master Harlan cuffed me with the flat of his hand, his fat lips parting like giant pink caterpillars, and sprayed me with spittle.

Or:

Master Harlan cuffed me with the flat of his hand, his fat lips parting like giant pink caterpillars, spraying me with spittle.

The first way is indicating he was sprayed only once by spittle, and the second one (which is in the imperfect) indicates that he was being sprayed on continuously. Whatever you want to say, choose.

Try not to be swayed with the nice word of “particular.” Particular is a nice word to use, but it can be overused. Look at your sentence. What does the word “particular” accomplish? As for the second half of this sentence, could you feel the spot throbbing or did the spot actually bleed? Threatening to bleed, in this case, sounds weak and, unless a lovely gash was produced by it, I would just stay with the throbbing description and leave out the bleeding part of it.

“All I was asking-“ He pulled out his money pouch and exposed part of a coin, a shilling. I averted my eyes and shrank slowly away into the crowd, Master following me in hot pursuit.


I was soooo confused by this. Your comment helped a little, but it needs to be put into the main part of the story.

All I was asking was for the money for my return…honestly…


The “honestly” sounds much too modern for historical fiction.

The salty smell of the sea blew through the air, mingled with the sweat and stench of the hundreds of people milling around me. Seagulls swarmed over head, cawing and squawking and making a huge ruckus while flapping their great creamy white wings. Below me, the wharf creaked and groaned under the weight of all the people pushing past me, threatening to give in and sink down into the fathomless ocean.


Oh… these sentences need a makeover.

The smell of the sea doesn’t seem to fit with the sweat and stench. I would rather have something such as, “The salty smell of the sea blew through the air, but was quickly overpowered by the sweat and stench…” Or, now that I think of it, sweat is not really a smell, and stench is much too powerful a word to use in this scenario. I would rather see, “…but was quickly overpowered by the smells of the hundreds of people working around me.” I changed milling to working, because I doubt everyone is milling. Besides, working is an easier verb to grasp.

Overhead is one word. Also, I think there is way too many descriptions crammed into this one sentence. Play with it a little. But don’t be afraid to get rid of some description. You’re setting the scene, but this one detail isn’t particularly important to the story.

And a wharf is not in the middle of the ocean! It shouldn’t look too fathomless. Dark and murky, yes, but not fathomless.

“And where would ye be headin’, m’boy?” A grubby, toothless old man in a soiled shirt asked me. I looked into his eyes, a cold and mirthless black, like coal.


Grubby already indicates that his shirt, as well as anything else he might be wearing, will be soiled. Don’t be so repetitious. And what are cold and mirthless black? The narrator’s look? The man’s eyes? Don’t be so ambiguous.

“V-…Virginia.” I stuttered and pushed past him, jostling into a young lady who was holding a sticky child, who yelped with delight and grabbed at my hair. I evaded his grasp and headed further and further into the crowd, never stopping to look back to Master Harlan, though I knew he must be following, his giant belly swaying and his chubby arms raised, ready to strike any who got in his way.


First of all, it should be, “‘Virginia,’ I stuttered.” Because you tell us that the narrator stuttered, you don’t have to worry about hyphens or ellipses. Next… the sticky child? That sounds awkward. What is sticky about the child? A better description might be, “jostling into a young lady who was hold a child with sticky hands. The child, upon seeing me, yelped with delight and tried to grab my hair.” By splitting up the sentences, you make the overall wording appear smooth.

Oh, and the description with the child with sticky hands is a good description, because it tells us about your main character. Any description that develops or shows your character in a particular instance is worthy description.

And I think instead of using the word “any” I would use “anyone.” Why? Because you use the word “who” after it, which indicates a singular subject.

I was looking for the red-haired lady, with the purple gown, as had been described to me in the letter. My eyes darted along the wharf, jumping from ship to ship, past tall masts and sails billowing in the wind. Giant cannons peeked through holes in some of the ships, the Navy ships. On board, finely dressed officers and tattooed sailors mingled, the only place they ever would. On the ships, the common folk and the rich were thrown together, and usually…usually they accepted each other. My father, when he was alive, served in the Navy, and he told of such things.

When he was alive…


Fine, fine…

With a final scan of the dock, I spotted her. It HAD to be her. The purple-gowned lady with the red hair. Tentatively, I walked forward, struggling past a cluster of girls talking and giggling excitedly. I stepped in front of her and bowed quickly, and the lady nodded in acknowledgement. I found it funny she didn’t curtsy…


By describing the giggly girls first without describing Eleanor, you make Eleanor Dare seem to a giggly girl. Is this the case?

Even if it is, I think it would be better if you gave a separate description of Eleanor. She seems to be a very important character, and any description you can would be good at this moment.

“Are you- are you, um, Eleanor Dare, madam?” I finally choked the words out, forcing myself to look into her eyes. Her face split into a grin.


Split into a grin conjures an image of an overenthusiastic naïve young woman. This is why you need to describe Eleanor. We’re not sure what to expect from her.

“Yes, I am. And you must be…”
“Samuel.” In the next few seconds, I was pulled into a bone-crushing hug by the newly introduced Eleanor, her arms wound around me and I could smell her perfume, like soft, pink rose petals…


Why…?

“We’ll be great friends, Samuel.” I frowned, though it was a good thing she couldn’t see me. The statement seemed so…strange somehow.


Maybe we shall, maybe we shall…


Ah, so your character is also confused by this display. But at the same time, we’re confused too. Of course, it would lead nicely into a chapter two but…

You really need to describe Eleanor.

Nice work, overall. :)




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Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:33 am
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hekategirl says...



Yeah, it does, and if you were going to keep the name Samuel I think you should nickname him Sam.




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Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:29 pm
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Sam says...



just for some clarification- you guys didn't comment on tis but i read it and noticed this.

the reason he's scared of the guy when he shows him the coin is because this kid is supposed to be mildly epileptic and directed flashes of light trigger his seizures...:D It makes sense to me, 'cause I did a whole character thingamabob on him. but it won't to you.

ps- any name suggestions? he seems like a liam to me.




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Wed Feb 09, 2005 8:16 pm
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hekategirl says...



I love this Sam! you did a great job on discribing where he was and what he was doing. All I can say is this is great!




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Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:25 pm
Firestarter wrote a review...



I like it, and I expect to see more...soon...

It HAD to be her


This stuck out really badly. If you want to place emphasis it looks so much better to use italics, like: It had to be her. Perhaps an exclamation mark would be of use here, too.

Otherwise I couldn't see anything wrong with this. It's really good.

Are you really 11? I'm 16 and you write better than me.





If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
— Anatole France