A Snippet of The Unicornologist, Chapter 13

A Snippet of The Unicornologist, Chapter 13

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

Hillary found some of her mother’s needlepoints in a box in the basement. Missing her deceased mother, and wanting to connect to her somehow, she decides to create a needlepoint picture of a unicorn.

Hillary compared the instructions in her library book to the sample of her mother’s work. The stitches crossed over intersections of the horizontal and vertical threads of the canvas, tilting from lower left to upper right. On the backside they were mostly straight. Knots were forbidden; tails of yarn had to be anchored under stitches on the backside.

She marked the center point on her graph, then basted a thread down the middle of her canvas vertically and horizontally. The threads met at the center of the canvas, and that corresponded to the center of the graph. Surprising Hillary, the book recommended starting the design in the center and working out to the edges. This seemed counterintuitive—wasn’t it logical to start in the upper left corner? Oh, well; she would follow the wisdom of generations’ worth of experience.

In the beginning, progress was slow–several hours’ work yielded only a few lines of pattern.

I know it’s short (the limit is ten sentences), but what do you think of this small excerpt from Chapter 13? I’m hoping it will resonate with anyone who’s done needlepoint or counted cross stitch. Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please leave your comments below.


14 responses »

  1. The detail was through BUT my eyes glazed over. I’m not a needlepoint person either. I love to look at it – such beautiful, intricate art – but unless this is all plot-pertinent, and especially if the question you raised re where to start is important, I’d condense it. You’ve left the reader wondering why the tails have to be anchored and what’s the significance of starting in the upper left and if those don’t factor in the plot, you sent them down a rabbit hole. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get what you’re saying. I’m the same way when I read science fiction and there’s a technical section. I just skim until I find a passage I can understand. But I love the charm of the traditional arts and want to slip a little in, especially for younger readers. As I’m reading the comments this morning, they’re split 50/50. I’ll take your suggestion under advisement.


  2. Loved cross stitch, but never did do needlepoint. I made cross stitch birth announcements for each of my children and framed them. They were fun to do and great keepsakes. Will there be a point to all the needlepoint instructions and the plot of the story? Curious to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to do a lot of needlework, and I loved counted cross-stitch the best. While I could identify with the character’s actions, I kept waiting for a punch…some action. Are you gearing this only to girls? They might find it interesting. Boys, not so much. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Girls are my primary audience for this.
      Yes, these ten sentences are slow. I promise there is more excitement coming.


  4. I have a love-hate relationship with cross-stitch. It can be painstaking, and so much work, but makes such lovely results. I agree with some of the commenters that this is a bit dense, though. Does all this explanation need to go right here? Or could you break it up? That’s a good way to inform without losing people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, cross stitching, something I’ve tried, but never found the patience for. I do agree a little bit with Veronica. While I think it’s an interesting bit of writing and I feel it provides some insight into the character as well as the relationship she shared with her mother, I can’t help but think that this could possibly be condensed just a bit, Just a friendly suggestion. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I sewed and knitted with my grandma, I never did cross-stitch or needlework so I skimmed the instructions. Those readers who have done it with their parents/grandparents I do believe that you will hit with the warm fuzzies but the others will just be wondering what this has to do with anything. Maybe she will have some kind of revelation? That way it will at least be character related. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay, everybody, I hear you. To explain, Hillary has two issues, missing her mom and being obsessed with the unicorn she’s charged to protect. The needlepoint is kind of a way for her to deal with all the questions and stress in her life right now. I’ll find a way to condense the instructions, but I want to keep it real, too–her mom’s not here to teach her, and she’s trying to make sense of the process all by herself in her analytical way.


  8. Well, I read all the comments and I have done needlepoint, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, sewing, tatting, you name it, and I had to read the snippet more than once because the first time I didn’t “realize” I was reading “directions” for needlepoint, so wasn’t in the left-brain reading mode, but in the right-brain reading for entertainment mode. It “stopped” my reading for entertainment and enjoyment…you may want to think about that. And since I didn’t get any “direction” for doing something I wanted to “do” from reading the “directions” they didn’t really serve a purpose for “me,” which is why I read directions…. Just yet another opinion I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

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