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Gossamer Hearts {WIP}

by sCrAwL

I was seventeen when I first saw Jacklyn Rivers. I recall it was an unsettlingly temperate day, one of the notable oddities in that particularly capricious New England winter. My aunt Lydia had just dropped me at the local public library under the presumption I would be working there late on a Latin assignment two weeks overdue, but I had never set foot in that library and housed no intentions whatsoever of exploring it that day much less any other. I, in the thick of my rebellious teen years, instead chose to walk down the block to my favorite coffee shop, “The Honeybee Café.” The best thing about “The Honeybee Café” was how blissfully awake the shop was, a gratifying refreshment from the sluggish, drawling streets of Merrimer. Cars and street walkers, smothered by swollen down coats and stuffed, woolen gloves, pumped through the streets drowsily, lethargically, like a thick, rimy blood down through its ice-encrusted artery. The snug ambience of my hideaway fit flesh with the swelling chatter of its customers and the clinking of their handcrafted teacups. When I stepped through those steamy un=oiled doors, the pure aliveness of the place rushed through me like oxygen into my lungs, and I could breathe. Here though, I most importantly could see them. I could sit down with my over-priced, over flavored drink, and observe what others passed as the commonplace corner table, but I could almost picture them here. I saw a young woman with tousled rich brown hair and soft emerald eyes nestled inside that shadowy little crook, an old soul who lit up pictures and laughed in the rain; someone who wore coats that were too big over clothes that didn’t match and called it “urban chic” with a smile like the sun and a voice like the whispering autumn woods. A fair lady who’s kisses could melt even the bitterest people like candlesticks with the heat of her bleeding heart. And with her sat a man, tall, lanky, and unshaven; he drank his coffee black with no sugar, and stared at the woman like she were the blossom he’d found tucked between the pavement cracks of a plastic city. Together their gazes intertwined and fused, hers green and twinkling and his an earthy cobalt blue that mused upon her through the rims of wide charcoal glasses. And they there they sat, tucked away in that little corner table, a picture suspended in the clasps of time of this little café, mine.

And so it was natural that I sat as far as I could from this table, but never too far as though I may lose sight of its ghostly splendors. I was like the wolf to the fire, forever wary, but captivated by its dances, its dare.

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396 Reviews

Points: 27
Reviews: 396

Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:59 pm
Pompadour wrote a review...

Hello! Pomp here to leave a quick review~

Welcome to YWS!

My first critique is going to be your handle on language. You have a masterful way of describing the narrator's surroundings, with lovely imagery, and it drew me in almost immediately.

It also immediately put me out, as a reader, because while your language is wonderful and smooth, it's like you're attempting to wedge a pot-plant between two bricks--sensory overload is not always a good thing. I'm really fond of description; it fascinates me to the extent that my writing rambles and I have to cut down on it. But while description is wonderful, there are also certain ways you can make it better and more ... inviting.

On images: I make this mistake a lot, but I really endorse making sure your images do not clash with one another. It's helpful if you find a point of similarity between two images, when you put them together, because then it's easier for the reader to build connections and not struggle so much to envision what you're telling them.

Also (and this pains me to write because it took me a long time to learn myself, but): too much description is never a good thing. Keep on the look-out for when description is a barrier for flow, instead of facilitating it,

A couple of pointers, description-wise:

Cars and street walkers, smothered by swollen down coats and stuffed, woolen gloves, pumped through the streets drowsily, lethargically, like a thick, rimy blood down through its ice-encrusted artery.

~ 1) Cut down on the adjectives. 2) Divide the sentence up into two or more.

~ On word-choice: I cannot picture cars and street walkers (why not just use pedestrians?) pumping along the street. The traffic, perhaps, can be compared to blood flowing down an artery, but the description just looks odd when it is attached to individual folks/things. Besides this, it is obvious that the people were draped in woollen coats, but the cars were not. The way the sentence is structured currently, however, appears to suggest this. I think the issue is in the juxtaposition; the images don't fit together. Also, and I'm not certain about this, but if blood is 'rimy', how can it pump through the streets? The image clashes too much for my taste.

Moving on, I think another issue I have is that you begin with story with somewhat of a background on the narrator, and what the narrator is doing, only to move on to an entirely description-dependent story that does not otherwise seem to stand on its own. As a work-in-progress, it's got the barebones of potential, but the real deal probably lies in the fact that you've focussed on our venue, on the worldbuilding, but nothing of significance actually happens.

A bit of advice: Consider all your readers to not have much of an attention span. Most people don't stick through blocky paragraphs filled to the brim with setting and scene, but no action. I think the piece, where it stands right now, is more of an experiment than an actual short story. It focusses on building on places, settings, appearances--not purposes, nor plot, not characterisation. As a short story, this lacks a beginning, middle, and end. It reads like a prologue without a hook. It reads like something that is, as yet, incomplete.

Complete the picture. Give it a story. Give it fire, give it passion, let it breathe. Right now, it's basically blood cells suspended in a centrifuge. Get that centrifuge whirring. Give your narrator and the characters aims; show some interaction. I want to feel like something has /changed/ by the time I finish the piece, whether that is an internalised change within the narrator themself, or a massive change that has to do with the plot. Figure things out--you can do it!

Let me know if you build on this/edit any time soon. I'll be glad to look it through for you~ You have a wonderful way of saying things; just focus on adding grit to the story.

Keep it up! Keep writing!

Hope this helped. PM me if you have any questions~

~Pomp c:

sCrAwL says...

Thanks so much for the advice, this is my first draft so I completely see what you are talking about with the description overload. Naturally I tend to be wordy when I write, but I will definitely edit this down before my next post. I'll tag you when the new draft is up, but your words of wisdom are super helpful. Thanks!

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7 Reviews

Points: 678
Reviews: 7

Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:23 am
ThatBeeGirl wrote a review...

This is utterly, breathtakingly beautiful. Your way with words is enchanting and captivates the reader in your world, the imagery here is magnificent and your use of run on sentences to continuously describe a characters actions or their personality. I have nothing I would suggest be tinkered with or changed.

Your writing style creates this dreamlike world that makes each line more interesting than the last and by the time I got to the end, I wished there was more.

Your language is also very impressive, mixing in uncommon or surprising words with the regular ones and the juxtaposition again draws the reader in for more. For example, when you write "Cars and street walkers, smothered by swollen down coats and stuffed, woolen gloves, pumped through the streets drowsily, lethargically, like a thick, rimy blood down through its ice-encrusted artery." I can immediately see this image in my head, but I wasn't expected the simile of the blood clotting in the veins.

Absolutely wonderful job, I know I will be following you to see what comes next and what else you are working on!

The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; my heart is at your festival.
— William Shakespeare