Title: Sting
Subtext: A breath of death air.
Author:
Date: 06 May 15 (Wednesday in the AM)
Copyright:
Time: Less than a minute
Replies: 10
Revisions: 7
Publicity: Workshop

His breathing grew shallow and quick in the same moment, drawing lightly scrubbed air through the respirator. These labored, worried breaths felt clouded in his throat and pricked the soft tissue in his lungs like tiny pins.

They told the minors the respirators were only for precaution. The air down there is perfectly safe, they assured. You burn the coal in your homes. You warm your babies by the fire’s hot glow. You can breathe it, they said.

Revisions

Fox » Authorship
Fox » 3:56 PM 06 May 15
Fox » 2:01 PM 06 May 15
Elk » 11:19 AM 06 May 15

The Thread (10)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. Vivid. I like the flow of the last half, but the rotating verbs are distracting. I’d trim them back to a bit of straight talk, like this:

    They told the minors the respirators were only for precaution. The air down there is perfectly safe, they assured. You burn the coal in your homes. You warm your babies by the fire’s hot glow. You can breathe it, they said.

    Also, instead of “a million tiny pins” I’d maybe place something that captures the quantity, like “a small universe of tiny pins” or some such thing. A million of something small brings too much other baggage to mind.

  2. Great suggestions. I had a smaller number to start, but as you suggested a number doesn’t actually convey a feeling.

  3. At the risk of sounding ignorant, it should read as “miners,” not “minors,” right? This is, I believe, about a mine. Or are they minors in a mine?

    On the rotating verbs (a great phrase), I agree with Elk, but another take is to use the rotation to your advantage by making the last one hit us directly. Rather than assured, pointed out, convinced, said, maybe use assured, pointed out, convinced, lied. Lying is of course implied throughout, but there’s always the chance that “they” are just ignorant. This would provide the smoking gun.

    Another quick thought on this: if they are indeed wearing respirators, is there still a danger?

    “[L]abored, worried breaths felt clouded in his throat” is excellent.

  4. Oh awesome! It was a longer piece originally that would build, but as Elk pointed out to me offline, it said all it really needed to say here, but I think Bear’s suggestion really hits it home. Is it too much?

    It is “miner” for the person who works in a mine, but “minor” means someone of less importance. It was intentional, but perhaps it doesn’t work?

  5. Well, I had envisioned an ill-advised field trip. So maybe not.

  6. Ha. Ok yeah, true point.

  7. Good piece, and some nice changes made so far. The minor/miners double entendre is a little confusing. Not sure I would’ve gotten that without your explanation, although now and again I’ve been exposed as a fool.

  8. I’m drawn in the first sentence to a kind of failed instinct the body may have towards kabalabati, which is the fast paced cleansing breath of hatha yoga. Might be something there. I wonder if the pin pricks are felt only at the top of the lungs. That might allay some confusion I had relative to the shortness of the breath. I’d also jettison the double entendre. I read it like young people, too. Knowing the intention now, I think the power dynamic is clear enough without it, and graver than the pun allows for. Strong piece.

  9. Agree that the changes have been good thus far. I wish there was a way to save the double entendre, but I don’t readily see it either.

  10. Either way, it’s still a double entendre.

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