Aug 19, 2009 by

Read NORA 1 here

ROUND 2: Write the opening paragraph of your novella. It should be no more than 300 words, not including your opening sentence, and should be about interactions that take place over the web.

“Humph!” thought Catherine, reading over the opening of her short story. “What exactly do I mean by this? That all happy families are happy in their own way or unhappy in their own way?” Hers was a happy family, she had no doubt about that. But then what had impelled her to open this way? What was it that was gnawing at her? “Don’t be preposterous, Catherine!” she chuckled to herself. “Nothing is wrong… nothing at all!” Perhaps to prove the point more to herself than to Arthur, she interrupted her writing to express her ardent love for him in an email. She opened Yahoo mail only to find that Arthur was still logged in. Just as she was about to click the logout button her eyes strayed to the single unread message in his inbox: From SexySeleme1744 – Subject Cum check out my barely legal XXX photos!! Catherine deleted the smutty spam in disgust. The image of her dear husband stroking his manhood over obscene pictures of teenagers in unspeakable positions of degradation flooded through her, jarring her to the core. She left the cherry oak desk and glided across the lusciously carpeted floor to the glorious Palladian window overlooking her teagarden. The soothing light of the full moon flooded over her, calming her pattering heart, while also revealing in breathtaking outline her long sinuous thighs, flaring hips, and generous bosom. She knew she could give Arthur far more pleasure than any of those shameless hussies who pranced about indecently over the Internet for everyone to see. The sanctified obligations of marriage did not exclude sensuality and amorous adventure. She shifted her weight to one leg and confidently ran her hand over the arc of her mature outthrust hip. Tonight she would show Arthur just how exciting marriage could be.

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  1. The monologue at the beginning just doesn’t click with me Nora – it seems like a terrible case of show not tell to me.

    And your MC’s reaction to postulations of her husband having “gentleman time” (as I heard it referred to in United States of Tara last night) with pornographic internet photos – it doesn’t ring true to me. She’s be upset (which she is), she’d be angry (perhaps) – but I’m not sure just how easy those emotions segue into serene (because that’s what the image of the moon evokes) contemplation of sensuous adventure.

    I think what is bothering me – is the imagery is not matching the emotions in the scene and the some of the descriptions (such as the desk) if necessary could have been inserted at the beginning.

    It just doesn’t do it for me Nora I have to say.

    • Well your purported critique does not really click with me either. It seems like a terrible case of vote not rant to me. I see no reason why I should have to justify my writing to you, or to anyone for that matter. If you do not like it, maybe you should just vote for me tomorrow and spare the rest of us your high-minded pontifications.

  2. I see someone’s up to date with her Mills & Boon 😉

  3. It actually wasn’t intended as a vote but a critique – and a critique is one person’s view of the work on hand. As such it is neither right nor wrong, but one person’s opinion. Which of course you can give or take. Critique is also an invitation to enter into a mature dialogue about the work at hand.

    Unlike Tuck it seems you have little stomach for honest critique.

    And what was written here was certainly not intended as “vote not rant” – I already had in mind where I would be casting my vote – but in light of this I’ll definitely be reconsidering where my vote goes tonight.

    Best of luck in the voting.

    • I won’t deny I may have overreacted at what you wrote.

      What I do know, however, is that I didn’t come here to have my writing dissected and workshopped. Perhaps I should have better prepared myself for this eventuality, considering the public and interactive nature of this competition.

      But you too should also be prepared for a critique of your critique. This is a reality show, is it not? You cannot gouge and not expect to be gouged back.

      I am not entirely without blame myself so I shall put aside the sarcastic undertones in your last comment’s closing sentence. We will just have to politely agree to disagree.

  4. I critique several pieces of writing a week – both through class, writing groups and the work I do as an anthology editor. As such I am used to being in dialogue with writers about their work and yes – we don’t always agree but what I love about the discussions on the points of contention is something wonderful always comes of it. A new idea, a new insight, a clarification or a new direction. But yes we can just agree to disagree.

    I don’t mind putting myself in the firing line but I expect what comes back at me to be about my critique not myself as a critiquer. That is the first rule in critiquing – it is always about the writing and the story at hand – never about the writer. It is always about specifics and never about generalities. On that count I am probably at fault with my final comment – buying too much into this reality TV bull.

    I’d love to see you make it through this round and show us all with your next piece of writing you are as much the imaginative, grounded and humorous writer who I became a fan of during the pre-contest.

    • I appreciate your explanation and the generous concluding words. I have not had the same exposure as you to writing and critique groups so I may have misunderstood your comments. Perhaps it is best to put everything behind us and start over fresh. If anything, at least we have provided some gratuitous reality show entertainment for others.

      • I’d love to start over afresh and for that reason I hope you do make it through the next round.

        And something good does always come of these things… it forced me to sit back and take a really hard look at “the writing” on offer here and the stories in their genre homes BEFORE I cast my vote. And having cast my vote – I know it went where I wanted it to go -not where a knee jerk reaction would have sent it 😉

        While I may have been overly harsh perhaps with my critique – I do understand now it fits within the genre (if darling Anna has got the wink on the money). Thus the insights which come through discussions – in a round a bout sort of fashion.

        To new beginnings!

        PS: and I hate to think we were pap for reality TV voyeurism (considering I don’t think either of us are really drawn to that sort of histronics!)

        • Thank you, Jodi. To new beginnings indeed! It must be because I strayed into the taboo territory of the romance genre that I lashed back. I just thought I’d take the plunge and attempt something that part of me has always been secretly drawn to. I can’t help but be a bit insecure about the style. But I should also remember I have nothing to lose. Even if voted off I can always continue the story in my own privacy.

          Marvelous opening paragraph, by the way. I love the opposing images of the crone and the pregnant woman!

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