Alone, Roy followed the trail out of the woods. The path opened up to a knoll overlooking a long, rolling meadow that extended undisturbed for dozens of acres. It was still early, just before dawn, and Roy could only see an outline of the trees that bordered the far edge of the field before him. There was no snow yet, but a faint layer of frost blanketed the area. The sharp white crystals crunched quietly underfoot as he made his way through the shadows of the morning. Though only 56, he was no longer young, and it showed in the permanent creases stretching across his forehead. His frame was full, sturdy even, but his knees struggled to carry the weight and he limped slightly.

He moved languidly towards his truck, yet he wore a strained, almost panicked expression. The blue ’92 Ford Ranger was parked on the hill looking east, partially buried in a bed of big bluestem. Its tailgate, no longer able to latch, hung open. Along the sill and wheel wells, rust had corroded the metal. Flaky brown patches dotted the pickup, and three or four holes had punched through to the bed where mangled pieces of aluminum, steel, and copper were piled beside a pair of dented air conditioners. Roy approached the truck and braced himself against the rear quarter panel. Two icy streams of condensed air shot through his nostrils. Glancing towards his feet, he noticed the clumps of soil that clung to the leather sidewalls of his boots. He thought first about the frozen layer of earth that he had forced his way through, then about the soft dirt that had been only a couple inches down. He had already done a good deal of work and was getting tired. But he was not finished.

Instructor Response

Nicely done. You’ve effectively created the story world and given a narrator perspective for the storytelling. You’ve effectively introduced Roy. The writing flows. As I know you know well, very soon story needs to be introduced. I suggest you see it in terms of conflict, and decide too if the story will be plot oriented or character based. If character based, you’ll probably want to begin to feel and think with Roy. Be sure it’s clear to the reader what the character’s dilemma is. If plot based, you’ll want to stay in the perspective of the narrator, or Roy. But you’ll need to get exactly what the threat to the status quo is.

Good work. You’ve succeeded very well.

WHC

  1. I appreciate the constructive criticism. I know I have a tendency to introduce conflict late into the story, for better or worse. Its something I need to gain better control over.

    Its a great boon to novices like me to receive feedback, so thank you for volunteering your time like this.

    All the best,
    Tim

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