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Sarasponda

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  #1  
Old 05-14-2006, 03:50 PM
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Sarasponda


It was summer, one of those peaceful, sunny Alaskan summers where the temperature's just right outside and the grass is green and across the distance the waters of Turnagain Arm shine crystal blue and calm. Of course I was inside. Fate did not make me an outdoors sort of girl, even at the age of eight. I was more at home in my sequestered room curled up with a book, surrounded by notebooks and cuddled amongst furry covers, than lying in the grass with sunbeams breathing down my neck.

It was summer, and that meant it was time for family. My grandparents on my father's side were at our house for a few weeks; that meant no seclusion or privacy for me or my sister. A welcome change, perhaps, from the loneliness that was common for the two of us, that loneliness that had kept our relationship strong and amiable despite the six years of age between us and the similarities that sometimes made things difficult. Certainly the company offered a chance to entertain ourselves in ways we would not have imagined without elderly inspiration.

Sewing. It was an ironic interest to add to my list of already ridiculously varied pastimes, sandwiched between watching motor racing and playing piano. Yet there was a material aspect about it, a usefulness, that persisted intriguing me. So it was that I found myself sitting in the little-used dining room, humming some idle Disney song, alongside my sister.

We fell into a rhythm; the sewing machine went on with its steady beat. Up, down, up, down. Faster, as we grew more used to the strangely tranquil monotony. Outside a bird chirped and my child's mind joined in like a spinning wheel: sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda, ret-set-set...

Sarasponda. Something was wrong. I had shifted in my chair. I could only take so much of this. It was boring just watching her sew, watching the silver needle continue its endless cycle. I moved again, restless. What sort of way was this to spend a summer?

Sarasponda and suddenly my sister was screaming, her ear-splitting shriek cutting through my head. I couldn't see, couldn't think; I shoved my chair away from the table. I screamed, not sure of what else to do. The sewing machine had stopped but still echoed in the air alongside our combined screams:

Sarasponda. The noise of the machine was replaced by more human sounds, footsteps hard against the wooden floor: my grandpa running to our rescue as we continued to scream, helpless, blinded by terror. Dimly as he reached us I heard him ask what was wrong. Even more foggily I saw my sister waving frantically at her hand, at the metal needle sticking out from it.

Keeping time with the persistent ret-set-set tears cascaded down my cheeks, my stomach overturning at the site; my grandmother was there, holding me, her hand over my eyes as I sobbed. I could remember now my hand brushing the pedal–I must have pushed it when her hand was in the way–there was blood running down her finger, red like the roses on the tablecloth, red like life. Soothing words were whispered in my ear: it was okay, everything would be alright, she'd be fine, but I didn't believe them. In my eyes I was guilty, ready to stand trial.

And in the distance the endless noise continued: sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda, ret-set-set...

(Erm... yeah. I think that's too long for the assignment but we'll see. Thanks for reading.)

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Old 05-14-2006, 04:09 PM
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Hey, T, nice work.

usefulness, that persisted intriguing me.
should be persisted in intriguing. er, I think.

Nice work. The pedal thing brought a smile to my face (I'm a little sadistic, so what?)
I'm wondering how much of this story is based on real life.

Good stuff.
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:14 PM
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Lol, thanks darth. That 'persisted intriguing' bit gave me a bit of trouble writing it and I'm still not sure how it should be worded. We'll see I suppose. You sadist... lol. Anyway, thanks. (And I'm just 'T' now, huh?)
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:17 PM
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(And I'm just 'T' now, huh?)
It changes on a near-daily basis.
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:33 PM
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Hey, Tit!

Of course I was inside. Fate did not make me an outdoors sort of girl, even at the age of eight. I was more at home in my sequestered room curled up with a book, surrounded by notebooks and cuddled amongst furry covers, than lying in the grass with sunbeams breathing down my neck.
This litte section was very nice, gave us some insight into what kind of person this character is. And the personification with the sun...simply great. It flowed nicely and could really evoke a sense of reality.

that persisted intriguing me
Darth already pointed this out, but I have a different suggestion, how about: "persisted to intrique me"?

That was nice. Great use of repetition and the emotions that kind of fell out seemed real and convincing. I didn't feel like you were trying to capture, it felt like you did capture it.

It also seems like a realistic reaction for an 8 year old....

I liked it...man, to critique good writers is hard.

And it makes you feel bad when you crit a bad one...those people probably don't like me because I don't know how to do it diplomatically. Oh well..

Sorry, I'm rambling.
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:36 PM
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Thanks Dephere. Lol, I know what you mean, it's hard to say a lot about pieces you like or that don't have a lot of problems

I suppose I could just say 'that kept intriguing me...' but that would be too simple...

You know you have full permission to ramble, your highness. Anyway. Thanks. Unfortunately it's about half a page too long... if anyone has any suggestions on where to cut things out?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:38 PM
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Hm, the second paragraph really isn't all the pertinent...we don't have to know who's all there and everything...But other than that I'm not too sure. I'm bad at cutting things out, so I shouldn't be giving advice. lol.

Oh, yeah, I have a license to ramble from Tit...I'm framing that.
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Old 05-14-2006, 05:21 PM
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Titania,
You really don't have a sister? 'Cuz you hit it right on the head as far as reactions. I have a younger sister and whenever one of us got hurt, we would both be bawling, so when my mom would come running, she wouldn't know which one of us was the injured party. She still laughs about that today.

If you need to make cuts, I would take Dephere's suggestion of striking or condensing the second paragraph. It's interesting, but ultimately the action takes place between the MC and her sister, so why the grandparents are there isn't crucial to know. The rest...I don't know. From the paragraph that starts with "We fell into a rhythm" to the end, I wouldn't change much at all. It flows too well, it conveys the scene perfectly.
there was blood running down her finger, red like the roses on the tablecloth, red like life. Soothing words were whispered in my ear: it was okay, everything would be alright, she'd be fine, but I didn't believe them.
I really, really liked this part (but not for the same reasons that darthwader did, LOL). Everything is so dramatic and life-shaking when you're little and something bad happens.

You, my dear, are quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Keep it up!
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Old 05-14-2006, 08:54 PM
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Thank you, aprilrain I appreciate it. I ended up cutting part of the second paragraph and using 1.7 spacing instead of double () and it fits on two pages, which was the limit. Thanks again.
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:32 AM
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It was summer, one of those peaceful, sunny Alaskan summers where the temperature's just right outside and the grass is green and across the distance the waters of Turnagain Arm shine crystal blue and calm.

[You could shorten this to “It was one of those peaceful, sunny Alaskan summers where the temperature’s just right. The grass is green and across the distance the waters of Turnagain Arm shine crystal blue and calm.]

Of course I was inside. Fate did not make me an outdoors sort of girl, even at the age of eight. I was more at home in my sequestered room curled up with a book, surrounded by notebooks and cuddled amongst furry covers, than lying in the grass with sunbeams breathing down my neck.

[Try “Of course I was inside. Fate did not make me an outdoors sort of girl. At the age of eight I was more at home in my sequestered room curled up with a book, surrounded by notebooks and cuddled amongst furry covers, than lying in the grass with sunbeams breathing down my neck.” Very descriptive sentence! I can relate.]

Sewing. It was an ironic interest to add to my list of already ridiculously varied pastimes, sandwiched between watching motor racing and playing piano. Yet there was a material aspect about it, a usefulness, that persisted intriguing me.


[Do you mean, “a usefulness that persisted to intrigue me.”]

So it was that I found myself sitting in the little-used dining room, humming some idle Disney song, alongside my sister.

[Delete “so it was that.” Start sentence with I.]

We fell into a rhythm; the sewing machine went on with its steady beat. Up, down, up, down. Faster, as we grew more used to the strangely tranquil monotony. Outside a bird chirped and my child's mind joined in like a spinning wheel: sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda, ret-set-set...


[Perfect.]

Sarasponda. Something was wrong. I had shifted in my chair. I could only take so much of this. It was boring just watching her sew, watching the silver needle continue its endless cycle. I moved again, restless. What sort of way was this to spend a summer?

Sarasponda and suddenly my sister was screaming, her ear-splitting shriek cutting through my head.


[Period after Sarasponda. New sentence with Suddenly and careful of the participles. Try, “Sarasponda. Suddenly my sister screamed, her ear-splitting shriek cut through my head.”]

I couldn't see, couldn't think; I shoved my chair away from the table. I screamed, not sure of what else to do. The sewing machine had stopped but still echoed in the air alongside our combined screams:

[Period after screams.]

Sarasponda. The noise of the machine was replaced by more human sounds, footsteps hard against the wooden floor: my grandpa running to our rescue as we continued to scream, helpless, blinded by terror. Dimly as he reached us I heard him ask what was wrong. Even more foggily I saw my sister waving frantically at her hand, at the metal needle sticking out from it.


[Delete “Even more” and start the sentence with “Foggily.”

Keeping time with the persistent ret-set-set tears cascaded down my cheeks, my stomach overturning at the site; my grandmother was there, holding me, her hand over my eyes as I sobbed.


[Comma after “tears.” Change participle of overturning to “overturned.”]

I could remember now my hand brushing the pedal–I must have pushed it when her hand was in the way–there was blood running down her finger, red like the roses on the tablecloth, red like life.

[Delete “red like life” or expand on it because I’m unaware of how life is red.]

Soothing words were whispered in my ear: it was okay, everything would be alright, she'd be fine, but I didn't believe them. In my eyes I was guilty, ready to stand trial.

And in the distance the endless noise continued: sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda, ret-set-set...

Summary
This must be my lucky day! How fortunate I am to read two well-written stories in a row. You have a lot of talent, and you should be proud of what you have here. You were focused throughout and never lost the reader through needless rambling. The descriptions were well done without being bloated. This is a very well-written and well-told story. Thanks! Be careful with the overuse of participles, but other than that, an A+.
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:31 PM
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It was summer, one of those peaceful, sunny Alaskan summers where the temperature's just right outside and the grass is green and across the distance the waters of Turnagain Arm shine crystal blue and calm.
Lose the contraction – make it temperature is.
No need to say outside
“across the distance” – this doesn’t work for me, the distance of what?
Can water shine calm?

sunbeams breathing down my neck
Cool! You manage to make sunbeams sound evil! Was it on purpose, though?

persisted intriguing me.
Like others said, doesn't work. I would write persistently intrigued.

Keeping time with the persistent ret-set-set tears cascaded down my cheeks
Comma after ret-set-set? Maybe? You’re the expert.

This was great! As for cutting, yeah, the second paragraph can be trimmed.
Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:00 PM
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Hi Titania, i don't know if i've ever critiqued one of your pieces, and if i haven't well now I am. (hurrah)

It was summer, one of those peaceful, sunny Alaskan summers where the temperature's just right outside and the grass is green and across the distance the waters of Turnagain Arm shine crystal blue and calm. Of course I was inside. Fate did not make me an outdoors sort of girl, even at the age of eight. I was more at home in my sequestered room curled up with a book, surrounded by notebooks and cuddled amongst furry covers, than lying in the grass with sunbeams breathing down my neck.
This first intro paragraph is excellent! no problems. however, i found "sunbeams breathing down my neck" a bit odd. you can totally make sun sound evil, but i just can't imagine it breathing down one's neck. think about beams and how they are so hot and beating and still.

Sewing.
i see this link from the "elderly-inspired" pastime, but i wouldn't make "sewing" just one sentence. try: "it was sewing." just to be a little more clear/grammatically correct.

It was an ironic interest to add to my list of already ridiculously varied pastimes, sandwiched between watching motor racing and playing piano.
awkward. try: "It was an ironic interest to add to my list of already ridiculously varied pastimes, whether it be watching motor racing on the TV or ------ playing my piano." ---- means stick an adverb there. i don't know how you feel when you play piano. also, i don't really know how sewing is ironic. it could be odd, random, out of place.. but it's not ironic.

Yet However,there was a material aspect about it, a usefulness, that persisted intriguing me.
i used however instead. starting a sentence with yet is strange.

So it was that I found myself sitting in the little-used dining room, humming some idle Disney song, alongside my sister.
i agree with xfactor here. you also shouldn't start a sentence with "so it was". if you do.. "and so it was" you can sort of get away with it. but I'd try rephrasing the start.

We fell into a rhythm; the sewing machine went on with its steady beat. Up, down, up, down. Faster, as we grew more used to the strangely tranquil monotony. Outside a bird chirped and my child's mind joined in like a spinning wheel: sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda, ret-set-set...
this i like, but i find the transition from zoom-out to close detail a bit choppy. everything you've written so far has been quite casual and very introductory; setting the scene and talking about your pastimes etc. then suddenly you are very up close, talking about the sound of the sewing machine. you need some sort of segway sentence to make it smoother. it's just because the speed and the intensity of this paragraph is so contrasting. needs a build up. know what i mean? also, i like the "sarasponda" sound. i'm assuming it imitates the sound of the sewing machine, not the bird, but i'm not entirely sure. make this more clear to the reader.

Sarasponda. Something was wrong. I had shifted in my chair. I could only take so much of this. It was boring just watching her sew, watching the silver needle continue its endless cycle. I moved again, restless. What sort of way was this to spend a summer?
this is an odd way to start the paragraph. i don't mind the "sarasponda", but "something was wrong" made me immediately think something drastic was happening. this happens in the next paragraph, but you follow "something was wrong" just with you being bored. it doesn't really connect with the rest of the paragraph.

Sarasponda and suddenly my sister was screaming, her ear-splitting shriek cutting through my head. I couldn't see, couldn't think; I shoved my chair away from the table. I screamed, not sure of what else to do. The sewing machine had stopped but still echoed in the air alongside our combined screams:
this again, is going way too quickly from a slow pace to intense action and drama. you need to build up the scene more, really shock the reader. because this comes so quick that i don't think it has the same effect you want it to have.

the rest of the story was fine. you described the action and drama very well, without telling too much, but still portraying the intensity and fear of the situation and how you felt.

Overall, i thought it was very well written except for a couple sentence-fragment problems. and also, pay attention to scene changes and focus changes. this is hard to do in writing, to go from far away to close up detail, to go from laid back atmosphere to madness. just work on smoothing out the changes. i hope this helped, and good job!

-dogwood
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:39 PM
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Dogwood, Icarus, and xfacktor sorry it's taken so ridiculously long for me to get back to all of you on this - I was a way for a while and not paying as much attention as I should have been. Thanks to all of you for your time and help, and the compliments. Dogwood, on the pacing, I do agree it was awkward. Part of the problem was just how short I had to make things; I'm not used to working within a page limit like that. But again, thank you all! I appreciate it very much
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:00 PM
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Very beautiful. Having spent hours in the company of someone using a sowing machine, I understand the insanity. As always you have awesome skill :-D I really liked it. The 'sarasponda' was really good at pushing the tension.

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Originally Posted by Dephere
they're probably just little 12-year-olds who have nothing better to do than pretend they know how to write.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:20 PM
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Thanks alice
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:34 PM
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finally some realism.. it seriously lacking on this site..

well everything is covered and nice work missy
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:37 PM
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Thanks kali mostly I only do realism when I'm forced into it, but I've been doing better about that lately... thanks!
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:43 PM
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Unfortunetly, I was unable to catch anything That was unsatisfing to say. I guess I'll let it pass. The Godfather was pleased with what he saw, but unfortunetly, Reputation on this is not quiet my style The Godfather will put you at 100 with style.
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:59 PM
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Lol... well thanks for reading regardless oasis.
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:33 AM
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Ok, it’s different. But in a way it was a quit enjoyable read, no that’s not quit the right word, a refreshing read, from time to time reading something different from what one normally reads. Any way you know me so here is the first question why is there usually so much loneliness around them? Do they live far away from other children? Also you mention the grandparents but not the parents, also from the story I assume that the sister is older so she is 14, could these two fact mean that the parents are not there and that they actually live either on there own or with a more distant relative and that they don’t get on so much (hence one reason why the two get on to much) or am I reading to much into this here. Second question what exactly is Sarasponda? The noise of the sewing machine or possibly the birds outside?

At times it seems as if the little girl is telling us this as it happens and at other times it seems more like a memory being retold, is this just me or did you intend it as such. Any way well done, another good story from you, continue the good work.
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Old 07-09-2006, 02:41 PM
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The assignment was a memoir-type one, so the intent is for it to seem kind of like a retold memory. And yes, this is very different... I would say there's loneliness simply because I (and this is based off me at least) was pretty solitary when I was little, I didn't play with other kids a lot, especially not outside of interactions in school. The parents were there I think - they just weren't the first ones to the scene. As for sarasponda, there's actually an old song called that that's supposed to imitate the sounds of a spinning wheel (or in this case, a sewing machine).

Anyway, thanks Tau
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Old 07-09-2006, 11:57 PM
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Oh ok, now I know, well I hope your writers block lifts so that you can writ more.
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