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  1. #1
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Having trouble...any help appreciated

    Here's a snippet from one of my stories that's giving me some problems. Something just doesn't feel "right" about the passage, especially in the discription of the carved doors, but I can't put my finger on the problem. Any advise is appreciated.

    ************************************************** ********

    Chantal, inordinately excited by the mention of food, followed Maya through the halls to the kitchens. It’d been so long since she had a decent meal, she could barely remember what it was like to sit at a table and enjoy warm, sand free food. Enticing smells tickled her nose and caused her stomach to grumble loudly as they rounded the corner.

    Maya pushed the kitchen doors open to reveal the activity, noise, and wonderful smells of Reiont’s kitchens. Chantal followed, watching the cooks as they prepared the midday meal. She heard Maya apologize for interrupting before asking an elderly lady for a basket with enough food for two. The woman, who Maya called Tatia, nodded and went to retrieve the food on legs almost too thin to support a body grown plump from years of taste testing. A smiling Tatia returned moments later carrying a large basket with both hands. Maya thanked her as she took the basket and shook her head good-naturedly.

    “You’re trying to make me fat before my wedding,” Maya accused.

    “Impossible,” Tatia responded. “You’re too skinny to get fat.”

    Both women chuckled and bid each other good day before Maya led Chantal out of the kitchens and back out into the hall. They rounded another corner to find two enormous doors stretching from floor to ceiling. Two snarling dragons sat glaring at each other within the wood. One was carved into each door with intricate detail, even showing the swirls within the orb on which each dragon perched and cradled in its tail. The image was somehow familiar, but Chantal couldn’t remember where she’d seen it before. She thought perhaps her father had mentioned it to her in some story he told her as a child. He grew up in Reiont Castle, so it made sense he would remember the carved doors.



  2. #2
    Tonya Gray
    Guest

    Re: Having trouble...any help appreciated

    "Chantal, inordinately excited by the mention of food, followed Maya through the halls to the kitchens."

    First of all, how many halls and kitchens are we talking about?

    Try using another word besides... inordinately. It just doesn't flow smoothly. Since it means...to exceed normal limits, use something simple like...

    "Chantel, greatly excited by the mention of food, followed Maya through the hall to the kitchen."

    "It’d been so long since she had a decent meal, she could barely remember what it was like to sit at a table and enjoy warm, sand free food."

    I think this sentence is fine.

    "Enticing smells tickled her nose and caused her stomach to grumble loudly as they rounded the corner."

    I would add a comma for pause effect in this sentence.

    Like:

    "Enticing smells tickled her nose and caused her stomache to grumble loudly, as they rounded the corner."

  3. #3
    Amanda Turek
    Guest

    Re: Having trouble...any help appreciated

    I'll give it a go.

    . . . rounded another corner, and Chantal looked up in awe. A pair of enormous wooden doors barred their way from floor to ceiling. Two snarling dragons glared at each other, carven into opposite doors. Each dragon cradled an orb in its tail, rendered in such detail that even the swirls within the orbs took on life.

  4. #4
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Having trouble...any help appreciated

    Just my opinion, feel free to ignore.

    You've got something pretty good here, A.B. But I'd tweak it a bit:

    "Chantal, inordinately excited by the mention of food, followed Maya through the halls to the kitchens."

    If you've previously explained that it's a big place with multiple halls and kitchens, this works. If you haven't touched on that earlier in the book, it sounds like you have plurals that don't work.

    "It’d been so long since she had a decent meal, she could barely remember what it was like to sit at a table and enjoy warm, sand free food."

    Probably a - between "sand" and "free."

    "Enticing smells tickled her nose and caused her stomach to grumble loudly as they rounded the corner."

    I don't like enticing, because it isn't foody enough and I don't like "smells" because that can be a negative instead of a positive. I'd probably start with "delicious aromas" and rewrite from there if it didn't satisfy me.

    Also, you can end that at "loudly." It doesn't matter that they rounded the corner at the moment her stomach growled.

    "Maya pushed the kitchen doors open to reveal the activity, noise, and wonderful smells"

    You've already established the smells. I'd leave it with activity & noise."

    "of Reiont’s kitchens. Chantal followed, watching the cooks as they prepared the midday meal. She heard Maya apologize"

    Why not "Maya apologized" instead of "She heard Maya apologize. . ." It's tighter.

    "for interrupting before asking an elderly lady for a basket with enough food for two. The woman, who Maya called Tatia, nodded and went to retrieve the food on legs"

    Sounds like the food is on legs. Needs rewriting.

    "almost too thin to support a body grown plump from years of taste testing."

    If you're going to stick with taste testing, I'd throw a - between them. But I'd go for something more interesting than taste-testing. Sampling. . . her own cooking?

    "A smiling Tatia returned moments later carrying a large basket with both hands."

    Sounds like the basket has two hands. Rewrite.

    "Maya thanked her as she took the basket and shook her head good-naturedly."

    “You’re trying to make me fat before my wedding,” Maya accused.

    “Impossible,” Tatia responded. “You’re too skinny to get fat.”

    Very nice interaction there. Sweet.

    "Both women chuckled and bid each other good day"

    I'd probably go with "They chuckled and . . ." because you've established that it's two women, and they know eachother. "They" seems more familiar.

    "before Maya led Chantal out of the kitchens"
    I'd end it there. "back out into the hall" doesn't add anything valuable.

    "They rounded another corner to find two enormous doors stretching from floor to ceiling. Two snarling dragons sat glaring at each other within the wood. One was carved into each door with intricate detail, even showing the swirls within the orb on which each dragon perched and cradled in its tail."

    I see why you're tentative about this, and I think it's because of the another/two/two/one/each/ thing you've got going here. I would also name the type of wood for more definition. What if you ran it:

    "They rounded a corner and came upon two enormous oak doors stretching from floor to ceiling. A pair of carved dragons sat snarling at eachother within the wood. They were carved in intricate detail, showing. . ."

    And here's where I flat loose you.

    "within the orb" okay
    "on which each dragon" okay
    "perched and cradled IN its tail." What does that mean? The dragon is sitting on an orb and the orb also holds the tail? Cradled IN it's tail? I just don't get it. Sorry.

    "The image was somehow familiar, but Chantal couldn’t remember where she’d seen it before. She thought perhaps her father had mentioned it to her in some story he told her as a child. He grew up in Reiont Castle, so it made sense he would remember the carved doors."

    Is this the first time you're mentioning that her dad lived there? If not, don't repeat it. The reader should remember that her dad lived there, and you don't need to remind them. If you haven't mentioned it previously, it seems a rather bit point to drop in as an aside.

    Best of luck to you. Your book sounds very interesting.

  5. #5
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Having trouble...any help appreciated

    Typo: At the next to last paragraph, it should be "Rather a BIG point" not "BIT point." Sorry.

  6. #6
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Re: Having trouble...any help appreciated

    Thank you all for the suggestions. I'm going to try and tweek it a bit once I get back to the computer this working draft is currently saved on, and I think I know what I'm going to do now.

    You hit the nail on the head, Leslee. It's largely where I describe the dragon carving within the last paragraph that's giving me fits. I came across an interesting dragon necklace just after I completed the first "complete" draft of this novel several years back. Now, that I'm out of high school and college, I'm going back and reworking this book, but I'm still having trouble describing the figure hanging from the chain. It's a dragon, cross-styled between an Asian and European dragon, standing on its hind legs, flexing it's forward claws, and snarling. It's standing on top of a swirled marble, but its tail also curls around the marble so that even though it's loose, the marble never falls out of the statueete. I wouldn't worry about the description too much, but I use it as a figure from the world's mythos as a symbol of unity and the royal emblem.

    As for mentioning, Chantal's father, the reader could easily guess he grew up in the castle since he is the son of the reigning king. However, this is the first time in the story the fact is specifically mentioned.

    If you have any suggestions on making the description clearer, I'd love to hear it. I had originally used "cradeled" because I wanted to make it clear the dragon was guarding/protecting/cared for the orb since it is meant to symbolize the world/country/population.

  7. #7
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Having trouble...any help appreciated

    A.B. -

    This is fun. Thanks for the extended description. What would you think of something in this direction?

    "They rounded a corner and came upon two enormous oak doors stretching from floor to ceiling. A pair of carved dragons sat snarling at eachother within the wood. Carved in intricate detail, they showed each dragon on its hind legs, perched upon a swirled marble orb. Their long tails curled around the marble as if to secure it from rolling away."

  8. #8
    A. B. England
    Guest

    Any better?

    It's definately a clearer description, but it doesn't have the feel I'm trying to achieve. This is the first mention of a main symbol and theme of this novel/series, and this section is told from a budding poet's point-of-view. I want these doors to be as awe inspiring as possible.

    Here's a rewrite. Is it any better and clearer than the first?
    ************************************************** *******

    Chantal, inordinately excited by the mention of food, followed Maya through the halls to the kitchens. It’d been so long since she had a decent meal, she could barely remember what it was like to sit at a table and enjoy warm, sand-free food. As they reached the ground floor’s landing, mouth-watering aromas tickled her nose and caused her stomach to grumble loudly.

    Maya pushed the kitchen doors open to reveal the activity and noise of Reiont’s kitchens. Chantal followed, watching the cooks as they prepared the midday meal. Maya apologized for interrupting before asking an elderly lady for a basket with enough food for two. The woman, who Maya called Tatia, nodded and waddled toward the huge ovens on legs almost too thin to support a body grown plump from years of taste-testing. A smiling Tatia returned moments later, visibly struggling with the weight of the large basket she carried. Maya thanked her as she took the basket and shook her head good-naturedly.

    “You’re trying to make me fat before my wedding,” Maya accused.

    “Impossible,” Tatia responded. “You’re too skinny to get fat.”

    They chuckled and bid each other good day before Maya led Chantal out of the kitchens. They rounded another corner to find two enormous ridge cedar doors stretching from floor to ceiling. Each bore the figure of a snarling dragon carved into the wood with intricate detail. They reared, poised to defend the orb they perched on; their serpentine tails curled protectively around the precious sphere like a living shield. The image was somehow familiar, but Chantal couldn’t remember where she’d seen it before. She thought perhaps her father had mentioned it to her in some story he told her as a child. He grew up in Reiont Castle, so it made sense he would remember the carved doors.

  9. #9
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Any better?

    Just my opinion, feel free to ignore:

    I'd remove "ridge" from "ridge cedar doors"

    I don't like "Each bore the figure"

    I'd prefer "perched upon" to "perched on"

    I don't like "living shield." They aren't living.

    Otherwise, it all reads very nicely.

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