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DOGGONE VOICE: FREEBORN

Friday, 29 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
 
Title: FREEBORN
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Katia shuffled down the busy sidewalk, hunching over her cane. Mindful of the surveillance cameras, she periodically stopped to adjust the scarf securing her gray wig. Though her old lady disguise was fake, her Infection was real.

Every face that passed wore a government-issued prevention mask. The virus did not discriminate, but attacked regardless of gender or age. None were immune. Even though Katia had taken every precaution, the sickness had wormed its way into her blood. The parasite now squirmed in her gut.

A pair of Doctors brandishing chrome assault rifles blocked her direct route to the building. One tiny prick from their portable infection detector would immediately unravel her disguise. They often slammed the infected to the ground—just for kicks—before hauling them off to a quarantine center. That was their role: abuse their authority, mess with the rabble, keep the streets clear of the disgusting infected clones, and toy with them along the way.

Katia held her breath and shuffled behind the Doctors. Their voices turned towards her as she passed, but they didn’t address her as she mounted the steps to the ten-story structure. Like most corporate buildings, this one had been converted to housing to accommodate the rising population caused by the Infection.

The woman in Suite 940 held her last scrap of hope. While most people referred to the woman as a witch, she called herself Ilythia. Katia’s friend—one she almost trusted—had passed on the information; Ilythia possessed the power to help the infected through the horrific final stages.

Filed: Misc, Workshops

8 Comments
  • Leigh Ann says:

    Okay. This voice feels somewhat distant to me. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I think it’s the longer sentences giving a “panned out” feel to the narrative, combined with a bit of info-dumpiness.

    If you want to make the voice here closer, let us experience the treacherous walk through the streets and terror about having the virus as it happens in her head, instead of using longer sentences to give us an overview. How would she be thinking about her journey, with what words and rhythms? What would she think about when?

    If you are going for something more distant this works fine, but personally I don’t latch onto the character as strongly or quickly as I’d like.

    Nice writing! Keep it up!

  • Marieke says:

    This is a difficult one. Your writing is strong and your voice is solid. I’m intriigued by the concept and by this MC who is sneaking into the building.

    At the same time though, I don’t connect with it as much as I would’ve liked. Because this intro is mostly description and no real action, it feels rather distant to me. Right now, you’re telling me what is happening, but I don’t feel like I’m there with the character.

    As such, I am not emotionally invested, or at least not as much as I would want. I think more emotional investment would bring your voice from solid to shining too and vice versa.

    Because yeah, the writing is strong, the concept is intriguing. I’d love to know more! 🙂

  • Not sure if I’m allowed to comment yet… Eh, I’ll take a chance. Go hard or go home, right? 😉

    So far, I find the pair of Workshop comments intriguing. I believe what I am hearing is that there is, indeed, a ‘voice’ here. It is just not striking an emotional chord. At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting.

    I am also getting the feeling that this disconnect is being considered a ‘bad’ thing. I look forward to hearing the remaining commenters’ thoughts.

    Thanks, ladies!

  • Let’s give this rewrite a spin.

    Katia shuffled down the busy sidewalk. The pulse in her temples thumped four times faster than the clacking of her cane. Wary of the surveillance cameras, she slowed to a stop, and adjusted the scarf securing her gray wig. Though her old lady disguise was fake, her Infection was all too real.

    Every face that passed wore a government-issued prevention mask. Every set of eyes above those masks posed a threat to Katia’s ruse. Even though she had taken every precaution, the sickness had wormed its way into her blood. Hot fear and a growing parasite now squirmed together in her gut.

    She chanced a peek at the pair of Doctors blocking her direct route to the building. Their chrome assault rifles glinted in the sun like surgical blades. A single prick from one of the infection detectors clipped to their belts would immediately unravel her disguise. Katia had seen the Doctors in action many times before: kicking the infected, mocking them, toying with their victims before hauling them off to a quarantine center.

    Katia hunched extra low. Her lungs burned with stale breath as she shuffled behind the Doctors. Their gruff laughter bounced off her humped back as she passed, but they didn’t address the rickety, old granny mounting the steps to the ten-story structure.

    The woman in Suite 940 held Katia’s last scrap of hope. While most people referred to the woman as a witch, she called herself Ilythia. Katia’s friend—one she almost trusted—had passed on the information; Ilythia possessed the ability to help the infected survive the horrific final stages.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I did feel very disconnected to the story as I read the first version. But you NAILED it in the second version. Great voice, mystery, and details. Very intriguing premise. This revision is aMAZing! Kudos on taking critiques and using them to make your work shine. Well done.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Oh, and I forgot, I do hear Katia’s voice in it and love it. 😀

  • callmebecks says:

    It’s a strong scene – very good world-building and a lot more voice in the rewrite. I’m okay with feeling a little more distance in a third person POV; just make sure you keep those awesome images and descriptors (I’ve noted my favorites) coming.

    IN-LINE CRITS:

    Katia shuffled down the busy sidewalk. The pulse in her temples thumped four times faster than the clacking of her cane. Wary of the surveillance cameras, she slowed to a stop (deleted comma) and adjusted the scarf securing her gray wig. Though her old lady disguise was fake, her Infection was all too real.

    Every face that passed wore a government-issued prevention mask. Every set of eyes above those masks posed a threat to Katia’s ruse. (I feel like you could combine these sentences, like: “Every set of eyes that peered at her above government-issued prevention masks posed a threat…” or something of that nature.) Even though she had taken every precaution, the sickness had wormed its way into her blood. Hot fear and a growing parasite now squirmed together in her gut.

    She chanced a peek at the pair of Doctors blocking her direct (I’d vote to cut “direct”) route to the building. Their chrome assault rifles glinted in the sun like surgical blades. (This is awesome. This whole image of Doctors and then just sliding right into how they’re holding big ass weaponry -> fantastic. Love it.) A single prick from one of the infection (I think you could cut “infection,” too. To me it seems clear enough without it.) detectors clipped to their belts would immediately unravel her disguise. Katia had seen the Doctors in action many times before: kicking the infected, mocking them, toying with their victims before hauling them off to a quarantine center.

    Katia hunched extra low. Her lungs burned with stale breath as she shuffled behind the Doctors. Their gruff laughter bounced off her humped back as she passed, but they didn’t address the rickety, old granny mounting the steps to the ten-story structure. (This last sentence is very good.)

    The woman in Suite 940 held Katia’s last scrap of hope. While most people referred to the woman as a witch, she called herself Ilythia. Katia’s friend—one she almost trusted—had passed on the information; (I’m not 100% sure I need this bit about who gave her the info – at least not yet. I feel like it could be worked into dialogue somewhere instead.) Ilythia possessed the ability to help the infected survive the horrific final stages.

  • Lola7384 says:

    I feel like this voice could be magnificent…. It just needs a lil push in the write direction.

    So here we go…

    It is very, very difficult for a lot of people to connect to third person POV writing. Why? Because it’s viewed more of as the reader is an outsider looking in more than actually being able to connect to the character emotionally on a personal level.

    BUT….

    And here’s the big BUT. When executed correctly books written in third person can be some of the best books ever. (I’m gonna throw in an HP reference here because those books are amazing. And… written in third person.)

    I do feel like the second version here is better than the first, but you need to put more feeling into this character.

    I’m going to rewrite your first paragraph… Not telling you what to do…Just giving you an example.

    Katia shuffled down the busy sidewalk. The pulse in her temples thumped four times faster than the clacking of her cane. Wary of the surveillance cameras, she slowed to a stop, and adjusted the scarf securing her gray wig. Though her old lady disguise was fake, her Infection was all too real. (This is yours)

    Katia shuffled down the busy sidewalk, on a mission. Her thin mousy brown hair was tucked beneath a gray wig and a colorful scarf securing that wig. She remained wary, casually stealing glances at the surveillance cameras hanging on the corners of the towering buildings around her…(Mine)

    I’m going to stop there and again… I’m just using an example to help a little by showing you that you need to go more in depth with this.

    I truly believe that this could be fantastic when it is revised as a whole and you put more into Katia to make the reader really engage.

    Hope some of this helps!

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