This scene occurs when my protagonist has made the “noble sacrifice” of sending away the woman he loves in order to protect her. Nine sentences for the ninth day of July.
I’m not liking the purple prose right now, so any help would be appreciated!
I find myself strong enough not to try to see her, or talk to her, but so weak as to wander by the gate, hoping to see her from a distance, standing in the midst of my memories as if addled. I can feel her in my arms, conjured by my longing. I indulge myself by recreating that evening in precise, jewel-like detail—the feel of the back of her neck under my fingers, which slip slightly in her silken hair; her breasts pressed so close to my chest I can feel her heartbeat. I hold the memory of her blue eyes full of love and acceptance like a candle in a dark, moonless night, knowing I will never see them thus again. Sweet Jesus, that way lies madness. I force myself away, refusing to acknowledge the scent of her which I swear on my soul lingers in the air. I leave some part of myself there; nothing so neat as a heart, all limned in lace and flowers. I drag myself away, leaving skin and blood and bone behind; when I see myself in the mirror of my room at the Stag (delicious irony), I feel shock that my skin is intact.
13 thoughts on “WIPpet Wednesday Lost love”
Great excerpt. I definitely get a sense of longing.
If you’re looking for critique, here’s my random opinion. This seems flowery. Too flowery for a man (which, if you’ve built him up this way, please ignore). The scent thing is awesome! That’s definitely something someone misses and it’s very tangible. I wonder if describing the scent would help rather than just saying he missed it.
Other ways to make it stronger is instead of saying, “I can feel her heartbeat” say something like “her heartbeat raps against mine.” It’s stronger and more tactile. Men are very tactile in my experience.
Anyway…that’s my input =P feel free to ignore me.
Thank you! I appreciate the suggestions. I get so close to my characters that I can’t be objective about them after a time. This Irishman and I have known each other for some time, so it’s good to get another opinion!
I suppose context is important. Is this a modern-day fellow, or one living in an era (or place) where men are prone to being a bit more flowery? For example, I find that a lot of my European male friends are much more likely to be poetic than my American male friends, and men in older times were more likely to speak this way. It also depends on your audience. If mostly women are going to read it, I’m not sure it matters if your guy here uses poetic imagery. In fact, that’s probably good—it’ll melt hearts! It also depends on what sort of guy he is. If he’s supposed to be pretty tough, it might be a bit much for him to wax rhapsodic about his girlfriend. That is, unless you’ve set him up as, say, a Hell’s Angel with a deep love for Shakespeare’s sonnets or something. (Hm…there’s a story in there somewhere.) His socioeconomic status and education would factor into it, too.
All of that was to say, I actually liked it, but it evoked a very specific picture in my head of who this man is.
Thanks for the comment, Amy. He started out as an Irishman from the WWII era, but he keeps wanting to be further back in time–and he’s proving very persuasive. 😉
Your point about socioeconomic status and education is a good one. Most people who got through high school prior to WWII had extensive educations–I was amazed to find that out.
I didn’t find it purple at all! I can totally imagine someone who’d given up a love for what they thought a higher purpose to lose themselves in torment in just this way.
I do agree with Adrian that the “I feel” comments take a little from the power of the passage – they feel passive and a bit detached, when the grief and yearning are clearly immediate and active.
You get bonus points in my mind for using ‘limned’ so beautifully. =)
Thanks for the critique, Shan. I definitely need to use more action verbs than passive, less descriptive ones.
I’m glad you liked “limned.” I have some very strange favorite words, so I’m always happy to find a character who likes them as well!
Totally with you on the strange favorite words! And I noticed the passives because I so often do the same thing. =)
I didn’t find this purple. It does come off a bit emotion-packed for a man UNLESS, as Amy pointed out, that is the way this guy is. Some men, especially those from different eras it seems, are more in touch with their emotions. My personal experience doesn’t bear that out, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. 😉
I did trip terribly over that first sentence. Too many instances of ‘to’. Also, it’s long. I’m thinking you could break it up and get rid of some ‘to’s and still have the same feel. And, as much as I love alliteration, this was a bit much “slip slightly in her silken hair”. It might have something to do with the word ‘slightly’.
So, take it or leave it. 😀 Oh, and I agree with Shan on the use of ‘limned’.
I’ll take it. Thank you!
And I should have commented to Amy as well as you that this is set in an earlier time. It started out WWII, but this guy keeps wanting to be much earlier.
Our character seems to me to be from a more medieval period… A bit full of himself (a bit of I-sore) and how he feels at her leaving, though not much of a thought on how she feels about it. Definitely a strong sense of desire… he loves her, in his mind he loves her, and clearly she’s responded to him more than once,
Nice development here…Though I see him as more a Scot than a Gael. 😉
Arg… I meant Scot’s Gael, not Irish Gael. He reminds me a bit of our friend Graeme… though much more politely spoken.
I was planning to tease you about that, although I understood what you meant! Going by my uncles and grandfather, this fellow is much more politely spoken, indeed. 🙂
They do have a way with words, do they not?