FRIDAY FEEDBACK – CASSIE SONNE

Today’s Friday Feedback piece is thanks to Cassie Sonne. It’s from a young adult fantasy novel.

Iris slipped down the icy mountainside towards a more hollowed out area in the mountain, one where she could be sure of firm footing. The minute Iris reached this place, she allowed herself to sink down to the ground, pulling out her blanket. Shaking and shivering, she let out all the tears she’d been withholding the past few days, letting them wet her face and clog her throat. Not even the lone hawk, circling the sky, seemed to notice Iris. And that was how she wanted it.

Had she bothered to look behind her, Iris would have seen the rising sun, beginning to warm the world with its rays. But her head was tucked between her knees, staring at the white ground, with the perfectly circular splash marks dotting it. How, Iris wondered, could something so perfect come from her pain? It seemed wrong, as though nature was mocking her.

Cassie, you have created vivid images here and you have given the reader insight into your character’s emotional state so that they can develop empathy with her.

I’m not sure if this piece comes at the start of your book, but you’ve also done a good job of raising questions for the reader. Who is this person and why is she so upset? Where is she? These are all great hooks to keep the reader turning the pages.

I’ve made a couple of suggestions where you could tighten the text up a bit…just by trying to omit word repetition. For example, your opening sentence could be reworked to something like this.

Iris slid down to a hollowed out area in the icy mountain, where she could be sure of firm footing. She pulled out her blanket and allowed herself to sink  to the ground.

Your setting descriptions are very vivid but sometimes I found myself needing more specific detail so that I could picture exactly where Iris was. For example, when she slips down the mountain, does she land on some sort of ledge? It sounds like it must be quite large, but I wasn’t sure. Also, is the ground white with snow? Is it cold? Is she sitting in snow or does she sit on her blanket? Does the cold seep through it?

I’ve suggested you pare the words back in the next bit too in order to make the text tighter

Shaking and shivering (Cassie, you might only need one of these descriptions, not both) , she let out all the tears she’d been withholding the past few day. They wet her face and clogged her throat.

In the next part I felt like I needed a bit more specific description so I could picture what Iris was doing.

Had she bothered to look behind her, Iris would have seen the rising sun, beginning to warm the world with its rays.

Is Iris sitting facing the mountain here because even if she was looking down, she would probably feel the sun on her head? I’m wondering if you could relate the warmth of the sun directly to Iris to bring the focus back to her.

But her head was tucked between her knees, staring at the white ground, with the perfectly circular splash marks dotting it.

Are these splashes from Iris’ tears? If the mountain was icy as you described earlier, would this happen – or would they make a mark like this in powder snow? Would splashes from tears be perfectly circular? The clearer your descriptions, the easier it is for your reader to visualise them.

We know that the thoughts are taking place in Iris’s head so I would probably tighten up the last sentence a bit to read something like this:

How, Iris wondered, could something so perfect come from her pain? Nature was mocking her.

Cassie, I really like the way you have incorporated your setting as part of the action so it does more than just provide information. I’m interested to know who Iris is and what will happen to her next.

Good luck with your story and thanks for sharing your WIP with our blog readers. I hope you’ve found my comments helpful.

If anyone else has some constructive suggestions to make about Cassie’s piece of writing, please leave your feedback in the comments section of this post.

If you’d like to submit 150 words for Friday Feedback, please email it to Dee*at*Deescribe*dot*com*au 

Happy Writing:)

Dee

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3 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEEDBACK – CASSIE SONNE

  1. Hi Cassie,
    I’m reading ‘The Lost Island of Tamarind’ by Nadia Agular at the moment. The style of your piece is not so different from hers and, hey, she’s published.
    I’d agree that more power in your piece can be gained by being more succinct. See where you can chop words to allow the story to emerge.
    I think you could make more of this area being snowy, icy and cold. When I read ‘staring at the white ground’ I initially thought ‘why is it white?’ It took a moment to think “Ah yes, snow.” Maybe I’m not so clever, but if you are describing this place as cold,you could make it really cold so that we as readers not only read it but feel that chill in our bones too. Select icy words from a thesaurus. Take a cold shower. Go and sit in the fridge if you have to.
    Good luck and don’t stop!
    Tracey

  2. Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for your input. I agree about the ‘coldness’. The cold is one of those things you can really feel when it’s written well, isn’t it?

    I hope your writing is going well.

    Dee:)

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