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  1. #1
    Nick Dobbie

    100: The Antigravity Belt

    Rifleman was dressed in black. An eerie green light glowed behind his night-vision goggles. He clung to a flagpole high up on the skyscraper and surveyed the situation below.

    The wind blew in strong gusts and the flat gray clouds, illuminated by the city lights, rushed past in the night sky.

    He tracked the black and white car five hundred feet below -- a police car with a big number 37 painted on its roof.

    He released his grip on the flagpole and disappeared into the night.

  2. #2

    Re: 100: The Antigravity Belt

    rifleman was dressed in
    he clung to a
    the wind blew in
    he tracked the
    he released his

    Vary your sentences so they aren't always simple: subject-verb-object (which makes writing dronelike). Try starting with a clause or combining sentences in interesting ways.

    (I know there's a rewrite encouragement here, but I've got my own stuff to rewrite.)

    Storywise, I find it interesting and it creates interest in the character and the situation.

  3. #3
    Rob Knowles

    Re: 100: The Antigravity Belt

    Hi Nick

    … dressed in black …
    … eerie green light …
    … flat gray clouds …
    … the black and white car …
    … number 37 painted …

    I think there is too much ‘colour’ in your story. In effectively 6 sentences you have implied colours 5 times (even though black and white aren’t strictly colours). Maybe it’s cold up there. What about smells? Maybe a waft of car fumes. I also agree with Harper that you should try and vary your sentences. How about this:

    Rifleman was dressed in black, an eerie green glow emanating from behind his night-vision goggles. Clinging to the flagpole {high up on the skyscraper}, he surveyed the situation {scene} below.

    The flat grey clouds rushed by {above} him, illuminated by the city lights{; or and} blown by the strongly gusting of wind. {maybe: It was bitterly cold at this altitude}

    Five hundred feet below Rifleman tracked a black and white police car with a large 37 painted on its roof. Releasing his grip on the flagpole he disappeared into the night.

    Now, I’m not saying that my version is better than yours. In fact, they’re virtually identical {ignoring the curly brackets for a moment}, but I haven’t used the same sentence structure each time. As for the curly bracketed inserts, the first one is because you have referred to how high Rifleman is 3 times in your excerpt. I think you can lose at least one of them. The second is an alternative to your word ‘situation’. You might have a reason to leave it in, it’s just a suggestion.

    I know I’ve just criticised your references to height but the next curly bracket simply positions rifleman above the city but below the clouds. The next set is just an alternative to beginning a new sentence. Using semicolons is legitimate; an affectation used most often by pretentious writers. Unfortunately, I have no real understanding of when to use a semicolon or a colon, but I’m sure someone in the group will let me know.

    I find that I want to know who rifleman is. A superhero like Batman, or a sniper? You therefore must have done something right. Anyway, I hope some of this helps.


  4. #4
    Finnley Wren

    Re: 100: The Antigravity Belt

    I liked this too, Nick, though I think the writing toward the end gets a little heavy-handed. This sentence in particular He tracked the black and white car five hundred feet below -- a police car with a big number 37 painted on its roof.

    Not sure the specific vernacular in NZ, however the typical American reader of either a mystery or a thriller doesn't need this whole picture painted. black and white is more than enough to let them know what it is. I might go with He tracked the black and white with ease, the 37 painted upon its roof reflecting tendrils of green through his heavy headgear. Yeah, that's bad, but you know what I mean.

    I couldn't help but notice your use of the phrase "big number 37" and remember your referring to the "big wooden door" in the Portsmouth story. I gotta wonder if it ain't just a "big" crutch word for ya!

    We all got em. With me it's "moment" and "back." The key is recognizing it (or so I hear . . .)

  5. #5
    Nick Dobbie

    Re: 100: The Antigravity Belt

    Heh heh!

    Finnley - my word is, "suddenly".

    "Big", eh? Geez, I hope I'm not trying to compensate for something!

    Heh heh heh.

  6. #6
    Nick Dobbie

    Re: 100: The Antigravity Belt

    Harper and Rob - exactly what I thought would be said about this passage. I'm glad my subject-verb-object writing rings badly in other's ears, too.

    I like this passage - a classic example of good content, bad delivery.

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