I thought that I would post my Clarity Of Night contest entry along with the feedback that I kindly received from Jason Evans, the host of the competition.
I count this as my first serious ‘rejection slip’ and have took onboard the comments he sent me. If you have read this then you can just scroll down to read the feedback but if not, I hope you enjoy…
Nature Is Cruel.
I watch you circling, your beauty and elegance gliding with ease on the uplift of cold winter air. The crows harass you, attacking you in two’s and three’s, trying to ruin your flight, but you take no notice. You could take them easily with your razor sharp talons, your strength and your split second timing. You are an aerial warrior, a gladiator of the skies.
But, today, you are no match for me. I plummet from high above, reaching speeds that you could only dream of. The bird watchers, busy getting their cameras and tripods ready, would think this to be something to behold; a peregrine falcon attacking another bird of prey, especially a large buzzard. But they are wrong.
Pushing speeds of three hundred kilometres an hour, I reach you within seconds, my talons splaying at the very last second. I hit the crow, claws first. It was coming in on your blind side, but is now falling to the earth, its neck broken and bleeding.
I would never attack you. Again, I have protected you and I will continue to do so. I will continue to love you also, yet nature is cruel and will never allow us to be together.
* * * *
Here is the feedback I received…
You scored very close to the 40 mark. The writing had a lot of strength. No doubt about that.
It’s always hard to critique pieces without glaring faults. My feeling about yours was that the storytelling was a bit nebulous at the beginning. I wasn’t entirely sure what was important and where it was going. I realize you have a reveal at the end, but from a storytelling perspective, I would have liked to have seen a bit more anchor and hook into the scene right up front. The first sentence evokes stillness and elegance. Then crows are trying to “ruin” the flight. But the winged something is much stronger than they are. Then, the speaker is attacking. On first read, I just wasn’t sure what the problem was that the story was grappling with. Each element had roughly equal emphasis.
Also, breaking it up some might help. The second paragraph contains the subjects “you,” “I,” and “bird watchers.” That’s a lot of shift for one paragraph.
All that said, the piece was strong and solidly written.
Hope this helps!
* * * *
I was pleased with the feedback and will go back to the piece, taking the comments into consideration.
Also, please take a few minutes to visit Jason’s blog. There is some superb work knocking about there and there may also be another contest later in the year.
You can leave a comment if you wish, your feedback is also very much appreciated………