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Author Topic: Opening sentences: Annabel, Poe-based gothic  (Read 5657 times)
MaryL
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« on: April 10, 2012, 03:08:08 PM »

***Disclaimer*** The style of the writing is intended to be purple and overly wordy/descriptive/dramatic as the novel is a re-imagining of Edgar Allan Poe's last poem, "Annabel Lee" and the narrator is the same as that in the poem. It's a gothic murder mystery.


She looked like something out of a dream…or a nightmare. Simultaneously, so terrible and beautiful, it made me ache.
 
Waves pounded against the jetty, shooting geysers of frigid saltwater into the air as she leaned into the wind, her long hair whipping in all directions.

“No. Stop!” I shouted, but the howling gale and crashing waves consumed my words.

She took a step closer to the rocky edge and held her arms out to the side as if she were going to fly. But she wasn’t going to take flight. She was going to die.
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I write for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing.
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stephaniediaz
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ad astra per aspera


« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 03:28:16 PM »

ooh this is lovely. The images are alive, and that last line is great. I'd read on!
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 03:49:22 PM »

I really like it MaryL.  Only thing that gave me pause - I thought she was on the jetty, then the rocks made me think she was on the shore.  Grabbed me though right away.  [what are your views on new John Cusack movie based on Poe's Raven?]
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MaryL
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 03:54:37 PM »

I really like it MaryL.  Only thing that gave me pause - I thought she was on the jetty, then the rocks made me think she was on the shore.  Grabbed me though right away.  [what are your views on new John Cusack movie based on Poe's Raven?]

Good observation, Zooks. Thanks. It is a jetty made of quarried stone as opposed to a wooden pier over the water. Does that help? It's clarified later when the house is described. If it's confusing, perhaps I should revisit it somehow. Hmmmmm....

I'm looking forward to the Cusack movie. The trailer is chilling. I'm not one for scary movies, but I might have to go see this one. It's an inventive premise.
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I write for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing.
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marylindsey.com  and  http://www.marissaclarke.com
Alniah
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 04:12:26 PM »

This is perfect timing as we just went over this poem in America Lit  Yes

Prose is tight and almost poetic. I can definitely see the themes from the poem and I loved your last line. Hooked me right in.  Thumbs Up
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 05:43:08 PM »

Heh. I actually didn't think it was purple at all!

Loved it! I'd keep reading  Thumbs Up
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LydiaT
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 06:16:23 PM »

Wow, you did such a good job tying this into the poem...This was really good! Very poetic and engaging. The last line was awesome.
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AnyaHarker
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 09:12:23 PM »

I'm about to offer to crit this in June if you have need for someone else. >>

Annabel Lee is one of my favourite Poe works ever. Ever-ever-ever.

Otherwise? NOthing I can add to this. <3
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MaryL
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 09:32:19 PM »

You guys are very kind. Thank you.

I'm about to offer to crit this in June if you have need for someone else. >>


That is a generous offer. Thanks! It will be through the revisions at Penguin and in the queue for printing by then, I hope. I should have it completed in 2 weeks if I'm lucky. It's been a tough, tough project. Heavy research and intense plotting. The outline was 20k words.
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I write for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing.
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marylindsey.com  and  http://www.marissaclarke.com
AnyaHarker
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 10:21:21 PM »

You guys are very kind. Thank you.

I'm about to offer to crit this in June if you have need for someone else. >>


That is a generous offer. Thanks! It will be through the revisions at Penguin and in the queue for printing by then, I hope. I should have it completed in 2 weeks if I'm lucky. It's been a tough, tough project. Heavy research and intense plotting. The outline was 20k words.


I bet it was. Just knowing Poe? I can imagine it was an intense plotting nightmare. Cannot WAIT to see this. But really? Once I'm done with school, I'm always happy to read things through! xoxo
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AVALON RISING | YA Fantasy: 78k | Querying
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munley
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 10:30:25 PM »

What I like, in terms of the drama of this, is the sense of the narrator being helplessly drawn to her at the same time of wishing he could turn away. Aching is a good description of the turmoil.

There is a lot of dramatic tension in the juxtapositions of terms that don't ordinarily go together. At the same time there are terms that reinforce and mirror (not oppose) each other. The turmoil of the observer and the turmoil of the sea, for example.

The rock jetty sounds typical to me, especially after living in Maine for 10 years. What I pictured was something like the jetty leading out the the Bug Light in South Portland.  Here is a picture:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/new-yorkled/578678776/

You can't really see it in this photo, but there are big gaps between the boulders. You have to leap over them to get to the tip of the jetty. ( I picture the jetty in your story a little less "tidy" though. More irregular in structure.)

The only image in your paragraph that doesn't work for me is the geyser. Both the temperature and the look.

I think of geysers as hot and as rising in giant, straight columns way over people's heads before dropping water, almost like a fountain, or something like a cloud burst overhead. I still live on a rocky coast (Canadian Maritimes), and spend lots of time watching the frigid sea. The waves smash into the rocks and immediately break up into zillions of drops, sending up a huge, broad spray. The roar and the view are so compelling, yet unpredictable in the reach of each spray, that people mesmerized by a series of "medium" sprays sometimes inch closer and get swiped right off the rocks to their deaths, as if grabbed by a giant hand that reached up for them (not rained down on them like a geyser).

Here is a photo of a typical wave crash at Peggy's Cove here, a popular tourist spot where rescues happen every summer:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35678794@N06/3302223140/

So there are my two cents.
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MaryL
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 11:01:45 PM »

Wow! The geyser bit helps a lot, Munley. I need to rethink that. The story takes place on a remote island far off the coast of Maine (You totally nailed that). I flew to an island similar in size and geography last year (Monhegan) for research. The water slamming into the rocks and shooting between them was stunning--vastly different than the Texas coastline. "Geyser" was what came to mind when I saw them. Though the word can be applied to any column of water or vapor, you are right in that it will bring to mind heat since that is its primary definition, and it is in complete opposition to what I was going for. Hmm. Need a new word perhaps. Will run that by my editor. THANKS!   

You also nailed the appearance of the jetty. It looks like this, but not as high out of the water and with no markers. http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/JG001443/stone-jetty-in-maine

Thanks for your insight.



« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 11:04:44 PM by MaryL » Logged

I write for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing.
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marylindsey.com  and  http://www.marissaclarke.com
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