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  1. #1
    Mandy Pauza
    Guest

    Tense help please?

    690 word story opening and I'd appreciate any feedback, with a special eye for tense switching.

    ----

    Two girls leaned on each other in a dark alley; the crystal pendants worn by each fell close together and glowed dimly in the gloom. The Hunter had known one of them was a vampire as soon as he’d bumped into them earlier in the evening. The jolt through all his nerves had screamed it as they passed by and the world slowed down for a moment for him:

    Vampire!

    The human was the shorter of the two, with long black hair that fell in natural ringlets, and olive skin that smoldered with youth. She had met his eyes as they passed earlier that evening. Her flirtatious smile, tongue showing, had been teasing as she gripped the hand of the girl with her. Daneck would not have even noticed the blonde, he’d been so taken with the dark haired beauty, except that he’d bumped her arm as they passed.

    Vampire!

    He’d reached out one hand by reflex, grabbing the remarkable brunette by the elbow.

    “Excuse me…” he’d stammered, but there was no second shock, no deep electric sense that this one too was walking evil.

    He’d let them pass. The street had been full of evening strollers, buying ice cream or roasted almonds. The two women had seemed to be window shopping, but the blonde (Vampire!) had seemed distracted even as her companion had talked animatedly about this or that, almost as if she were playing for an audience of those around her. The brunette’s dark eyes had roamed over those around her as if seeking something. Hunting.

    He had faded into the background of street life, watching them. Dressed like a homeless man, shuffling along his city streets, he quietly sought vampires out. Usually he found them by scent, he usually only touched them to confirm their identity, or to kill them.

    The Hunter was taller than most humans, well over six feet. Despite his size, Daneck moved with a preternatural grace that was barely hidden by his chosen attire. Still, he looked like one of the invisible people; garb that let him move through the streets and alleys unnoticed by most… but where vampires hunted. No one paid any attention to him as he slouched in alleyways, so never noticed when he disappeared from them, taking the chase wherever it might lead.

    He had followed them along from the bright pools of streetlights to a darker, less attractive neighborhood. He used many tricks to keep up with them without being seen. He had abilities his fellow hunters didn’t suspect. His hands became claws at need, his eyes saw in the dark with the same luminescence as a canine. His strength did not just rival that of a vampire but surpassed it. It was how he had been created. He was construct of old magic, a golem, and he had one purpose: kill vampires. As far as he knew, he was the last of his kind.

    His fellow hunters were of human origin, though transformed by him into something more. It meant they tended to be less subtle in their approach, but still… effective.


    He’d seen humans with vampires before, but always the vampire had been in charge: arrogant and sure of its superiority over humans. There was something wrong with this duo. The brunette seemed to be keeping watch for something, while the blonde vampire slouched along looking wan and somehow sad. He narrowed his eyes trying to see past the façade, if that’s what it was. He wished he could reach out and touch the thing again, delve into its memories and see what was really going on.

    The dusky human girl darted into an alley below him, dragging the vampire along with her. He watched with some interest, confident in his ability to put a stop to their plans. The beautiful dark haired human whispered harshly in the vampire’s ear. Someone was coming, it was time. She whispered curt instructions. The vampire looked painfully at anything but the girl, shaking its head no and wringing its hands. Its face was gaunt and pale in the dim light. The giant man wondering what was going on.

    ----

    Tear it apart at your leisure. Thank you in advance.



  2. #2
    Mandy Pauza
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    "The giant man was wondering what was going on."

    sigh

    ok, I see that one.

  3. #3
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    I didn't read this but as i scrolled down i spotted this:

    "The vampire looked painfully at anything but the girl, shaking its head no and wringing its hands."

    Do you realize you actually wrote that the GIRL shook its head and wrung its hands?

    I avoid reading about vampires and other human look-alikes endowed with qualities convenient for a writer to move the story forward. Ignorant about the genre, i wonder whether you make the vampire believable by referring to him/her as IT.

    The "at anything but" unnecessary confuses the reader.

    Don't quite understand the "painfully" either.

    The "no" is already implied in "shook its head."

    Avoid past perfect as much as possible because it's too distant in time to draw the reader into the tale.

    Oh, i just did another scroll and saw this:

    "skin that smoldered with youth."

    Smoldered???

  4. #4
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    unnecessarily confuses the reader

  5. #5
    Mandy Pauza
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    Damn, caught C&Ping a paragraph from another draft because I'd gotten tired and wanted to bring the piece to a breaking point.

    It was the past perfect in the front of the piece that I was most interested in seeing if it worked or not, it's something I have a hard time seeing when I've blown it.

    -goes dilligently back to work-

    Thank you for the time you did take, even though it's not a genre you like. I can't feedback some genres either.

    (yes, the 'its' was purposeful but apparently badly done, scratches that out and turns to a clean page)

  6. #6
    Cara K
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    Mandy--

    I agree that the tense is confusing and not helpful, imo, as an opening. It's one thing to have a past perfect for one or two sentences, but this seems overdone to me. Why don't you just put it in the regular past tense? Have the actual story start at the moment when the Hunter sees the girls, instead of referring back to what he's already seen and done? Good luck with it.

    --CK

  7. #7
    Mandy Pauza
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    I've been rewriting all morning.

    I feel really charged up and excited to work on it.

  8. #8
    larry moses
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    Hello,

    It's me again needing some help.

    My character is reflecting on earlier times with her husband before he changed toward her. I try writing the dialog in the past since she's thinking back, but I sometimes revert to the present. Should I continue the dialog in the past tense?

    Thank you.

  9. #9
    Mandy Pauza
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    Well it took 9 pages of handwritten to get those 9 paragraphs fixed but I do like it better.

    Larry, the feeling I got from the advice given me was any past tense is akward and best avoided. Lo and behold, mine reads better once I gave up the gimmick.

  10. #10
    Gregory White
    Guest

    Re: Tense help please?

    yep, too many HADS in there.

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