Draft 4: Opening paragraph – The Boy, the Imp, and the Memory Tree (was The Memory Tree)

I’ve decided to rename the title to “The Boy, the Imp, and the Memory Tree”. Darn but the first paragraph is tough. I’ve been putting it off but here goes:

A long time ago, there was a village. The people in this village was a hardworking bunch. They farmed and tilled the land. The land was fertile and with their hard work, the villagers prospered like the crops in their fields.

In the village there lived a boy. He was different from the rest of his friends, for his legs were weak from young. He could not run as fast or play as hard as his friends could. He hardly had any friends. The only time he was happy was in the evenings.

The village was also known for a grand old tree. No one knew how old that tree was. Every evening without fail, the villagers would gather under the tree to listen to stories being told. From the young to the old, they shared simple tales of what happened in the day. Sometimes they shared elaborate stories of things that happened in the past. They told of stories of lives past and present.

I decided to start simple and tell the story directly, using a narrative style. So Saigon Tai-tai, what do you think honestly?

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9 Comments

  1. July 14, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    IMed Lucian and he suggested a few changes, like to this line “people in this village were a hardworking bunch”, “legs were weak from young” is singlish”, and a whole bunch of other grammatical errors to the draft.

  2. July 14, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Posted Lucian’s comments, with his permission:
    ***
    “people in this village were a hardworking bunch” – unless you’re intentionally doing the ghetto thing.

    i think “legs were weak from young” is singlish.

    “he could not run as fast or play as hard as his friends.” – no need double could at the end.

    “the village was also known for a grand old tree.” – if there’s an also, it’s the second thing it is known for…and you didn’t state a first. last sentence…they told stories….no “of” between told and stories.

    conceptually i think you’re bringing in too many ideas in too short a passage. like a movie that changes scenes 3 times in the first 2 minutes.
    ***

    Thanks Lucian. Let me mull over the “too many ideas” part. The boy’s disability has a point to the story, the tree is integral, and so is the fact about hardworking villagers. But you have a point and I was thinking about that too. Let me work out the whole story and will keep those comments in mind.

  3. July 14, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    Hey, Lucian has some points but now’s not the time to evaluate too much. In writing the story, let it just flow. Then get an editor to smoothen things out. I usually prefer to use a more lyrical language. You can actually write it in the Singlish style and just set it in Singapore in the 1950s. Hey, we had young boys with weak legs and big trees and our own villages then. So why not. Then you can use all the Singlish you want. I can help smoothen some of your phrases after the fact

  4. July 14, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    That’s alright. I wanted to know how the first para went. Now I’m more confident of writing the rest of the story.

  5. July 15, 2006 at 1:45 am

    […] Decided to change to a young girl. Combined from draft 4 and earlier ones. “Once upon a memory,” the village elders would always begin, as they started their stories under the old tree. […]

  6. Anonymous said,

    December 23, 2006 at 12:12 am

    i think its good

  7. Karen said,

    October 24, 2007 at 6:06 am

    this story wack

  8. Anonymous said,

    June 25, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Frankly, I think you have some good ideas that may be worth looking into. The two only things that were confusing was when you said “The only time he was happy was in the evenings”. Even though it left me confused for maybe a couple of seconds, until I read on, I wondered “Why do the evenings make him so happy?” The second thing was when it said “Every evening without fail, the villagers would gather under the tree to listen to stories being told. From the young to the old, they shared simple tales of what happened in the day. Sometimes they shared elaborate stories of things that happened in the past. They told of stories of lives past and present” Again, Why did they do this? But, I guess this is just your starting paragraphs, so you might want to explain it later on. Otherwise, the story looks great!

    • Ivan Chew said,

      July 4, 2010 at 10:39 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the excellent pointers. Some day, I might revisit this story. If so, I’ll be sure to work in those areas you mentioned. Thanks again.


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