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  1. #11
    john palmer

    Re: "the narrative wasn't engaging enough..."

    I think that your writing is excellent.

    I do think that you get wordy sometimes:

    There was no way the young human could swim with it, and instead, he was forced to trudge along the muddy sea-bed, dragging it along beside him.

    I would substitute "so" for "and instead,".

    Despite the deadly encounter they’d just shared, the short journey to the village was the same as any other day. Mathan was still shaky and nervous from the shadobrinn attack, but he knew that that the work still had to be done. The only thing that made this day any different were the scratches across the young man’s bare chest. He ran his fingers over them from time to time, hoping Graden would notice and at least comment.

    I think the first sentence is awkward and the whole paragraph should be trimmed by about half.

    Despite the rebuke, Mathan felt slightly encouraged at the conversation he was having with his overseer. He sensed a chance to reach out and confide in Graden, and chose his words carefully.

    What about, "Despite the rebuke, Mathan felt encouraged. He sensed a chance to confide in Graden, and chose his words carefully."

    I liked the paragraph, mind you. I liked seeing the character think it through, see and opportunity, and take it. But again, it could use a trim, and would be stronger for it.

    Graden grunted. “But you are not one of them, Mathan, you are a human. I suppose that as long as you continue to be a productive worker, though, they should at least respect you for that.”

    For some reason I hear this character saying, "...as long as you work hard, they..."

    Your dialog, and your writing in general, feel a little wordy -- not ridiculously so, but enough to put me off.

    You also go into a lot of detail, but it's impossible for me to tell if this passage is overwritten or not because I don't know its place in the story. Is it pivotal enough to warrant the detail you're going into. Only you would know. But if it's like this throughout, I would say that you are overwriting.

    I think this is especially important in the YA market, given their attention spans.

    I don't see anything horribly wrong here; in fact, I think it's really good. Just needs a bit of a trim.

  2. #12
    john palmer

    Re: "the narrative wasn't engaging enough..."

    I like to read other posters after I do my own so that I won't get influenced.

    I agree whole-heartedly with CC and RR, with the proviso that "show, don't tell" can also be overdone.


  3. #13
    gulliver h

    Re: "the narrative wasn't engaging enough..."

    darling, this is so simple. Use a pronoun. He. That's the one for you.

    See? Even you are so distant from this narrative that you don't feel comfortable doing that. Bring the camera in. Cathy is right. Show us. Use senses. Every one of them. Get us down there with him, instead of this view from afar perspective.

    I think you have a good story here and you write well, just move in closer now. And stop, stop referring to him like a figure behind a glass partition. He's Mathan, or he or him...

  4. #14
    Patrick Edwards

    Re: "the narrative wasn't engaging enough..."

    The Long Walk (by Stephen King)

    Don't know why, but it kept popping into my head as I read your excerpt, Ray. (I will admit that The Long Walk tops my list of Mr. King's pieces, alongside Talisman. But, besides that, I think if you read it--The Long Walk--you'd get some help with what you're trying to do.)

    P.S. TLW is not an "instructional" book, per se....

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