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  1. #11
    David Thompson

    Re: A comprehension question

    Well, it made sense to me, but I don't know if I got it right.

    "Ezzie knew which she thought it was. She was sure that thing didn't need a fan."

    Ezzie is in awe of the computer and thinks it may be organic, but is afraid to articulate that belief to herself. She's gone far enough to consider it doesn't need a fan (isn't mechanical) but can't yet bring herself to say that it has a heartbeat instead.

    "In any case inside that box, it wouldn't be a fan - it would be a propeller."

    That tells us the box's size. It's so big that any fan big enough to cool it would be the size of a propeller.

  2. #12
    Jon Piper

    Re: A comprehension question

    David, I agree with what's been said about the passage not being clear.

    I think you should tell or show what you mean here. Keep the pov consistent. Add tension:

    She heard a relentless beat, like a fan in need of oil or . . . or was it a pump. Thump . . . thump . . . thump. She thought she heard the slow beat of a heart.

    No, a fan could not cool this computer, only a huge propeller could do the job, and there was not enough power for a propeller, she reasoned. She put her hand to her chest and felt the quickening beat of her own heart.

  3. #13
    Anthony Ravenscroft

    Re: A comprehension question

    Denis, I enjoy what you're trying to get across here, & think it's a great setup for a story.

    However, I'm (at heart) a boring whitebread reader. To me, a propeller is something attached to a boat (if it's on a ship, it's a screw).

    Now, if you tell me that the computer case is emitting the distinctive sounds of a peristaltic pump, I'm curious! From my labratory days, these little devices don't make much noise, but it's very distinctive, almost like a primitive two-lobed heart.

    You're working on a very interesting visceral ground for a story -- best wishes with it.

  4. #14
    Jon Piper

    Re: A comprehension question

    Dennis, I hope you don't think I was telling -- or showing -- you how to write your passage. I was trying to say that many readers misunderstood the passage, and you should rethink how you presented it.

    I was not trying to change your style. I intended my to illustrate what I thought you were trying to say.

    I frequently have the same problem you are having with this passage. In my mind I know what I want to say, but in the context of the style and point of view I've chosen for a particular story, I can't write the passage or scene properly.

    Sometimes it's best to step back and ask yourself what you really want to say. In simple words, what do you want the reader to know or feel. Then re-read what you've written and ask yourself if you've accomplished that.

  5. #15
    Denis Bonner

    Re: A comprehension question

    Hi all

    Thanks for the feedback. Anthony, thanks for your comment - what I was trying to say was that it was filled with liquid so maybe I need to say pump rather than propellor.

    I'll rework it.

  6. #16
    Just Me

    Re: A comprehension question

    Small thing, but this is the bit I found confusing:

    In any case inside that box, it wouldn't be a fan

    That means 'If there were a case inside that box, then the thing in that case wouldn't be a fan', so I wasn't sure whether there was a case in the box or what, specially as you're clearly describing some complicated bit of machinery. If you want it to read as 'Anyway, inside that box, it wouldn't be a fan', then you need a comma after 'case':

    In any case, inside that box, it wouldn't be a fan...

  7. #17
    Denis Bonner

    Re: A comprehension question

    Just Me - perfect! Thanks for that.

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