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  1. #1
    Rick Walker
    Guest

    397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Is this still too much telling?

    Jace awoke energized by the cool dawn air. He flipped the tent flap aside and jumped out for a better look. He sucked in the crisp air and all the serene beauty with it. The golden morning light drenched the forest with radiant reflections of blue and turquoise birds as they flew over the river almost in formation. He looked down the green valley to a sandy inlet where he could just make out a row of crocodile-noses almost submerged near the edge of the water. A small herd of wild pigs were drinking there.
    “Whoa! Looks like somebody’s about to get their breakfast besides us,” he said to his nearby horse. He stoked the campfire, put on the coffee, and shaved out of a tin cup of water. While waiting on the bubbling black brew, he dabbed iodine on his scratches and bug bites from ankles to neck and pulled on his jeans. No matter how hot it got in the forest, he had to cover up. Bare skin would get bloodied on all the wire and briar from dawn to dusk, so he always wore his full gear of long chaps and leather vest. Suddenly, the pigs squealed and the crocs had breakfast while Jace skipped his own. He went to Montanah and spilled a large portion of oats onto the ground for her.

    Jace had become a morning person since coming to the Amazon three months before, to build barbed wire fence in no man’s land. He was working for the summer on a Brazilian cattle ranch, the magnificent Rancho Janela Grande, meaning “big window” in Portuguese. It was over 200 years old, employing hundreds of cowboys. Jace was newly among them at his solitary outpost.

    He tossed a banana into the tree overhead. A tamarind monkey caught it with his long tiny fingers and stared down. Long black fur stuck out from his entire body as if he’d just stuck his finger in a light-socket. Upon his head he wore a pair of orange-mirrored sunglasses.
    “I want those shades back, movie star, “ Jace said.
    Suddenly, the monkey perked, bug-eyes frozen on the valley. He let out a shrill warning screech, setting off a noise that was echoed by every monkey in earshot. Soon, Jace heard an engine in the distance. He got the rifle out of the tent, and quickly saddled up.



  2. #2
    Gentle Reader
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Rick, I do think you're a good writer. I'm not sure what you had done before, but yes, it does seem you are "telling" a bit too much here.

    How about just tightening it up?

    Jace awoke energized by the cool dawn air. He looked down the green valley to a sandy inlet where he could just make out a row of crocodile-noses almost submerged near the edge of the water where a small herd of wild pigs were drinking.

    “Whoa! Looks like somebody’s about to get their breakfast besides us,” he said to his horse. He stoked the campfire, put on the coffee, and shaved out of a tin cup of water. While waiting on the bubbling black brew, he dabbed iodine on his scratches and bug bites from ankles to neck and pulled on his jeans. No matter how hot it got in the forest, he had to cover up. Bare skin would get bloodied on all the wire and briar.

    Suddenly, the pigs squealed and the crocs had breakfast while Jace skipped his own. He went to Montanah and spilled a large portion of oats onto the ground for her.

    Jace had become a morning person since coming to the Amazon three months before. He was working for the summer on a Brazilian cattle ranch, building barbed wire fences in the magnificent Rancho Janela Grande. The “big window” was over 200 years old, employing hundreds of cowboys, and Jace was newly among them at his solitary outpost.

    He tossed a banana into the tree overhead. A tamarind monkey caught it with his long, delicate fingers and stared down. Long black fur stuck out from his entire body as if he’d just stuck his finger in a light-socket. Upon his head he wore a pair of orange-mirrored sunglasses.
    "I want those shades back, movie star," Jace said.

    Without warning, the monkey perked, bug-eyes frozen on the valley, and let out a shrill warning screech, setting off a noise that was echoed by every monkey in earshot. Soon, Jace heard an engine in the distance. He grabbed his rifle and quickly saddled up.

  3. #3
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Rick,

    Right now, you are basically telling us that Jace woke up and looked around. How does any of this affect him personally?

    He flipped the tent flap aside and jumped out for a better look.

    Maybe I'm just old, but I can't imagine jumping out of a tent. Crawling out, maybe, but jumping? After just waking up? Why would he do that?

    While waiting on the bubbling black brew, he dabbed iodine on his scratches and bug bites from ankles to neck and pulled on his jeans. No matter how hot it got in the forest, he had to cover up. Bare skin would get bloodied on all the wire and briar from dawn to dusk, so he always wore his full gear of long chaps and leather vest.

    Again, why do we care exactly? Does he itch? Is he irritated by the bug bites? You said they were chigger bites in an earlier version. I'm from the south. I know how miserable chigger bites can be. He doesn't seem miserable. In fact, he doesn't seem anything. Did someone tell him to cover up? Or did he learn it the hard way?

    Now to answer your question, this is much better than the very first version you posted. I have every confidence that you will be able to make it even better.

    Happy writing.

    -SA

  4. #4
    Tony DelCampo
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Rick,

    I agree with the above comments, but, overall, this is much better than your original post. Keep at it.

  5. #5
    Rick Walker
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Dear Gentle,
    Thank you for your review of my opening paragraphs. I like the way you smoothed and condensed it. Very nice work there. Thanks very much for taking the time to help me out.
    Rick

  6. #6
    Rick Walker
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Dear Sail Away,
    I'm glad you think it is improved, and equally glad for your comments about how to make it better yet. I'm having a hard time showing everything because it adds to the wordcount so much, even when treating minor elements of a scene. But I will keep trying to find ways to be brief and yet thorough. There's just no substitute for action. I wrote and later cut the very scene that you suggested. It would help me out here, Jace building the fence and feeling the wounds and so on. I will re-think the cuts now and see if it helps the reader to be the character. Thank you very much for the advice and encouragement. I really do appreciate it.
    Rick

  7. #7
    Rick Walker
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    Dear Tony,
    Thank you for taking time to check out my writing. I appreciate your sharing of talent and voice. It is good to know I am on the right track with my changes. I'm spending a great deal of time on these first paragraphs because I am told it is the first page that sells the book and the last page that sells the next book. I should be so lucky! This book is 75% finished, and I'm pressing on to the end by the New Year. Well, have a great day.
    Rick

  8. #8
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: 397 words -- Improved? Thank you

    I'm having a hard time showing everything because it adds to the wordcount so much, even when treating minor elements of a scene.

    And that is probably your main problem. You don't have to show everything! As a writer, you have to choose the best elements from the scene, the elements that will move your story forward. You also have to do it in such a way that we become invested in your characters. But, whatever you do, DON'T try to show everything!

    -SA

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