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Thread: First draft

  1. #1
    Author Pendragin
    Guest

    First draft

    This passage is in rough draft than first draft, however; I wanted to know what you guys think. So far I think it may read to fast, and I am wondering if I cut to quickly. This is just the first part.


    Yellow rays tinted the sky green, as the sun inched over the horizon teasing dawn. Under the firmament, white foam formed along the shore as dark blue water lapped at the beach before being dragged back out to sea. A sailboat was the sole occupant of the harbor, bobbing aimlessly on the water’s surface, sails hung full mast. Along the shoreline, Tom Greenly jogged briskly with, Harold, his golden retriever.

    Normally it wouldn’t have caught his attention, except that it had been there the morning prior, in the exact same spot. Greenly stopped briefly, jogging in place, and got a closer look through a small pair of binoculars he carried around his neck. There was no one on the deck. The inhabitants were probably sleeping below, but instinctively Greenly knew he better call in it.



  2. #2
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    Author,

    What does "This passage is in rough draft than first draft" mean? Did you intend to tell us it's rougher than a first draft? I'm not trying to kill you here, but what did you intend to say?

    Read the body of your excerpt out loud. Are there places where you stumble?

    "...as the sun inched over the horizon teasing dawn." Consider inserting a comma 'tween horizon and dawn.

    Must be a big harbor if Greenly needs binocs to tell whether anyone is on deck. Do you actually even mean harbor? Or do you mean bay? Inlet? Etc?

    There's lots of other stuff worth commenting on. But you've posted something you tell us is rough draft or not even up to that calibre.

    I suspect you'd benefit from writing classes in your area. Don't give up. Do spend time learning.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Feel free to ignore.

    Cur

  3. #3
    Sam Fletcher
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    Here's my advice, you can take it or leave it at your leisure.

    1. Begin with the person instead of the setting. Start with something like, "Tom Greenly jogged along the shoreline with his golden retriever Harold ranging ahead then falling behind." That way the reader is immediately immersed in both the character and the action that's developing around the character.

    2. Be careful of too many adjectives because the reader will get lost in the abundance of modifiers. Show the reader the scene rather than telling them about it. For example in your second sentence you say, “white foam formed as blue water lapped.” You might try something like, “Harold ran into the waves, barking at the foam, then chasing the fading hint of it back into the blue sea.” I still don’t like that many modifiers but at least there’s character initiated action in the midst of it.

    3. In the third sentence you use the state of being verb “was” saying that, “A sailboat was the sole occupant of the harbor.” It’s almost always better for the character to take action and that way you can eliminate “do nothing” verbs like was. I would say something like, “Tom noticed the sailboat resting in the same place it had been yesterday.”

    4. I also find the name Greenly awkward. It’s slow to pronounce and feels like an adverb every time I see it.

  4. #4
    Sam English
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    It generally isn't a good idea to post a rough draft here. You are asking people to take their time to look at your stuff. You are giving yourself an easy out when the critiques start rolling in. Polish it til it's the best you can make it and then post. Wish this could be made a "sticky" for all posters tio read prior to posting.

    The reason this is the case is because of things like this:
    You left out a comma after 'horizon' and added a comma before 'Harold". So now, because you said it's a rough draft, I'm not sure if you s*ck at punctuation for real or you just haven't cleaned up the MS yet. See how frustrating this can be? Also, you lost me at "under the firmament". It just shows you're trying too hard to sound like a writer.

  5. #5
    the cat came back
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    Yellow rays tinted the sky green, as the sun inched over the horizon teasing dawn. Under the firmament, white foam formed along the shore as dark blue water lapped at the beach before being dragged back out to sea. A sailboat was the sole occupant of the harbor, bobbing aimlessly on the water’s surface, sails hung full mast. Along the shoreline, Tom Greenly jogged briskly with, Harold, his golden retriever.

    Okay, I'm going to be very picky here. I don't know why you are posting a rough draft. No, it doesn't read too fast, but there are other concerns.

    But let me get this out of the way first: I see no problem with "was". True, it is a "do nothing" verb, but to me, it fits here. It emphasizes the scale, and contrasts nicely with the active jogger. That sort of thing. "Rules" exist to be broken and you do that well here.

    I think I understand why you are using so many adjective, trying to build the setting, getting the reader to see if, but there are better ways to do it. I do like some of your verbs: tinted, teasing, formed, lapped, dragged... I think the modifiers need work. Firstly, too many of them are just ordinary and unnecessary: I mean what color could the sun be but yellow, so scrap it. (By the way, yellow and blue might make green on a painter's pallet, but not the sun and the sky.) What color could the foam be but white? Scrap it because it's already understood. Same with "dark blue water". At least you didn't tell us that the sails were white. :-) You also get an odd effect when Tom Greenly shows up. I'll let you get away with "golden" retriever because that's the name of the breed, and it wouldn't be a case of, "Oh, God, another color!" if you get rid of the others.

    Now, the odds and ends:

    ...as the sun inched over the horizon... Then, you would see it moving. ...teasing dawn... It can't tease dawn because it is dawn. Under the firmament, white foam formed... Everything is under the firmament -- not sure why you're getting Biblical here, though -- and the scale is weird, what with getting the reader to focus on what's at his fett and above his head at the same time. Think cinematically. It doesn't work. Birds fly under the firmament does, for instance. ...sails hung full mast. I've done a fair amount of sailing and I never heard that term or have a feel for what it means. Along the shoreline, Tom Greenly jogged briskly with, Harold, his golden retriever. Don't ask me why, but introducing the dog's name feels off to me. (I told you I'd be picky.)

    Normally it wouldn’t have caught his attention, except that it had been there the morning prior, in the exact same spot. That could dawn on him a little more slowly, perhaps. Greenly stopped briefly Lose "briefly" , jogging in place, and got a closer look through a small pair of binoculars he carried around his neck. Jogging with a pair of binoculars around his neck? Wouldn't that be annoying in the extreme?

    Just opinions.

  6. #6
    Author Pendragin
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    Smiling - It's a story I started working on yesterday. I thought it read to fast because I felt as though I needed to add a few details. I was working as I went along. Which is why I said it was more of a rough draft then first draft, but you can think of it as a first draft if you want to. I was struggling with the comma discussion, but I wasn't sure. A comma separates extraneous information in a sentence, which is why Harold is in between commas. I wasn't sure if a comma in the first sentence would have created a fragment. Yes I did mean bay. I agree that is an improvement.

    Sam - You're right, I probably should have started with Greenly's character, but I started writing about the sail boat, and I was trying to find a transition.

    Cat - I see what you mean about the word Firmament, but I guess I ran out of words lol. I tried to connect the sky with the land. Could I have just started with the part about the foam?

  7. #7
    Author Pendragin
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    Dang, wrong word. I mean I was struggling with the comma decision. Anyway, thanks for the feedback and the suggestions.

  8. #8
    the cat came back
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    Could I have just started with the part about the foam?

    Absolutely.

  9. #9
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: First draft

    The issue of commas around Harold is simply that you used one too many. It should read: jogged briskly with Harold, his golden retriever.

    No comma needed before Harold. For commas, read the sentence, and if you take a natural pause for breath, use a comma. If you don't... don't. You would not pause BEFORE Harold when reading.

    AS for the rest.... ditto what people said. But I like the premise. Just needs some work. Good luck

    Debbi

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