HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: JUST A SNIPPET

  1. #1
    larry moses
    Guest

    JUST A SNIPPET

    This is just a sample of my writing. Please don't be too harsh. lol



    CHAPTER ONE


    Lieutenant Petti Oliver left the crime scene and walked the short distance to the squad car. Brushing away the tears that were threatening to spill from her eyes, she swore under her breath. This was the third homicide on the island in three weeks. She glanced back at the prone figure on the ground. This one was hitting her where it hurts. “@!#$,” she muttered. “He’s only eleven years old. Eleven freaking years old!” She saw her partner, Lieutenant Lawrence Meyers staring at her, his expression grim.
    The sun was just setting over the horizon. They’d been at the crime scene since 5:00 p.m. and still hadn’t gotten a clue as to which of the gang members was responsible for the senseless shooting of the young boy lying dead in the parking lot at Harbor View Housing Community.
    Oliver noticed the growing crowd gathered in the parking lot and turned her head away in disgust. They came to gawk, but they were not helping the police by withholding information. One woman was sobbing. A young man, about seventeen years old, was patting her arm murmuring words of comfort. The woman blew her nose in a soggy paper towel. The young man glanced at Oliver and she could feel the hostility emanating from his entire being. She could also feel eyes boring into her back and hear the whispers from the onlookers.
    “If the damn police was doing their job all this killing would not be happening,” one woman proclaimed loudly.
    Oliver had heard it all before. They were always blaming the police when a crime was committed. Didn’t they realize that the police officers were working hard, going the extra mile to put a stop to the gang wars, burglaries, rapes, murders and drug trafficking? She sighed, returning to the crime scene.
    “This @!#$ got to stop,” Meyers said. “The boy is only eleven freaking years old!” He sucked his teeth.
    “It could have been one of your kids, Meyers. It could have been one of anybody’s kids,” Oliver said, shaking her head.
    When they’d arrived at the crime scene, Oliver had questioned a few of the onlookers.
    “I ain’t see nutting,” one woman had said.
    “All I see was a man running and then a boy fall down in the parking lot,” another had said.
    “Did you see the person who was firing the shots?” she’d asked the people standing closest to her.
    “Uh… no. I just hear gun shots, but I ain’t see who was firing the shots,” a Spanish- speaking, sixty-something year old man had replied.
    Oliver sighed.
    “These people aren’t talking,” Oliver told Meyers. “They’re scared ****less. They’re afraid of the bad boys.”
    “That poor woman,” Meyers said, looking in the direction of the sobbing woman. “She just lost one son and the one consoling her is a drug dealer.”
    “This isn’t fair,” Oliver said, angrily. She scanned the crowd and saw a Caucasian woman casting furtive glances around. Oliver and Meyers approached her.
    “You okay?” Oliver asked.
    “Yes. I just feel…feel out of place here,” the woman answered, shrugging.
    “Can you tell us anything about this?” Oliver asked, indicating the figure on the ground.
    “No.” She glanced around nervously. “Look, I don’t want to get in trouble here. I’m…well…you see the color of my skin. I’m the outsider here. Even though I’m living with a black man I’m still not accepted. Well…you know what I mean.”
    “Okay. What did you see?” Oliver asked.
    “Well, I was just about to draw the drapes to the door on the balcony when I saw a man running as if the devil was chasing him. He disappeared from sight and then I saw some children running from the direction of the playground.”
    “Did you see anyone chasing the man?” Meyers asked.
    “No.”
    “Can you describe the man?”
    “No. He looked like most of the young men around here. I wouldn’t recognize him if I saw him again.”
    “Thank you, Miss….” Oliver said, hoping that the woman would supply her name.
    “It’s Kannidy. Josette Kannidy.”
    “If you remember anything, Ms. Kannidy, please give me a call,” said Oliver, scribbling her name and telephone number on a page from her notebook and handing it to the woman.
    “That’s all I saw,” Josette said taking the paper from Oliver’s outstretched hand. “As I said before, I do not want to get in anything with anyone here. You know how it is.”
    The Medical Examiner called Meyers and he and Oliver left.

    Josette glanced at the slip of paper in her hand and crumpled it up. She’d told the officers what she’d seen and had no intention of talking to them again. She wanted to gain the friendship and confidence of her immediate neighbors and other members of the small Harbor View community. She loved the island and the natives.
    She’d fallen in love with the small island when she’d relocated from Michigan three years ago. She loved the year round sunshine and the white sandy beaches. She’d read some of the history of the island and learned that the United States Virgin Islands which consists of St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, and Water Island, plus fifty smaller islets and cays, cover approximately 133 square miles. The islands were held by England and acquired by Denmark, which named them the Danish West Indies. The islands were purchased from Denmark by the United States in 1917 for $25 million. The capital, Charlotte Amalie, is located on St. Thomas.
    St. Croix is the largest of the Islands, and is 28 miles long by 7 miles wide. There are two towns on the island, Christiansted and Frederiksted. English is the most common language, but Spanish is spoken by the large Puerto Rican and smaller Dominican Republic populations. A French Creole is spoken by the large St. Lucian and Commonwealth of Dominica populations. A native English-based dialect known on the island as Crucian, but formally known as Virgin Islands Creole, is also spoken by the majority of the population in informal situations.
    Tourism is one of the Virgin Islands main sources of revenue, but other industries such as HOVENSA, one of the world’s largest oil refineries, helps to support the economy. St. Croix is also home to the Cruzan Rum Distillery, makers of Cruzan Rum and other liquors.
    The history of the islands intrigued Josette. She loved the parties which the natives called ‘fete’. There was always something to celebrate. She loved the Crucian Christmas Festival, celebrated on St. Croix throughout late December and early January. Another of her favorites was the annual Agricultural and Food Fair held in mid February, where one could sample all the delicious native dishes and beverages. Living on this paradise island was bliss, the same bliss she felt when she was with Esau. She was not going to jeopardize all that by blabbing to the police
    When she’d arrived on the island, she’d stayed at the Buccaneer Hotel and had been lucky to secure a job as a waitress there. One month later she was settled in an efficiency apartment at Tulipan Welcome, had bought a used car and enjoying life on the island as a swinging divorcee. Her grown son had visited her but hadn’t taken to island living. Preferring the big city, he’d been happy to return home after his one week vacation had ended.
    She’d met Michael, a Caucasian, and piano player at Buccaneer and they’d began dating. He’d been ten years her junior, but since she didn’t look a day over forty, the age difference had not been noticeable. She looked damned good for her age. At forty-five, she still had a great body. At 5ft. 4 ins. tall, 135 pounds, her stomach was as flat as when she’d been a teenager. Her blonde hair was neck-length, her face attractive. Her breasts and derriere were still firm. For a grandmother of two she looked sexy and chic.
    When she was laid off from Buccaneer, she’d found other short-term jobs waiting tables until she’d landed the job at Divi Carina Bay. She’d loved working in the casino. She could have gotten a position as a slot attendant, but she’d opted for a position as a waitress because that was her profession.
    She’d been at Divi eight months when she met Ras Esau, the love of her life. He’d been sitting at one of the game tables studying the playing cards in his hand. She’d served a drink to a woman sitting next to Esau, and without taking his eyes off the cards in his hands; he’d ordered an Elephant beer. When she’d returned with the beer, the card game was over. He’d taken the beer and stood.
    “@!#$,” he’d said. I’m busted.”
    She’d smiled. “I know what you mean. Better luck next time.”
    “Yeah,” he’d smiled and left.
    They’d exchanged pleasantries every time he came to the casino. It seemed as if he was well- known as both male and female patrons would stop to greet him. He wasn’t a bad-looking guy. Tall, dark complexioned and hard-muscled, he looked like a man who took care of himself. His dreadlocks were long and well-groomed. He had a slight resemblance to Billy Dee Williams. His teeth were even but with a slight discoloration. She’d never dated a black man before, but she was beginning to feel some sort of attraction for Ras Esau. He’d began flirting with her after their fourth encounter in the casino.
    “You sure you ain’t a sistah?” he’d asked one night when she was serving him a drink.
    “A nun?” she’d asked, puzzled.
    He’d laughed. “Naw. You know, a sistah like…” he’d indicated a young, black woman across the room. “Your ass is even bigger than hers,” he’d whispered, smiling.
    She’d been embarrassed, but pleased. True, her butt was big and round like some of the natives, but she’d never given it a second thought.
    Her car conked out one Friday. Michael had taken her to work, but couldn’t pick her up after work. She hadn’t been worried about getting home as most of the employees used Tide Village route to and from the casino, while some used South Shore route.
    After her shift ended at midnight, she’d hung around, waiting for a ride from Maeling, a Vietnamese waitress. Ras Esau had spotted her sitting on the couch in the lobby and had joined her.
    “You on a break?” he’d asked.
    “No. I’m done for tonight. I’m waiting for a ride from Maeling.”
    “Oh. I can give you a ride home if you want.”
    “Wow! That would be great. Maeling likes to stick around to listen to Express Band. Once the music starts, she’s not anxious to leave.”
    “I know about that – the music, I mean. So, are you ready to leave?”
    “Let me find Maeling to let her know that I’m out of here.”
    Michael had arrived at 2:00 a.m. and had found them sitting at the dining table playing cards.
    “Hi, Michael,” she’d greeted him. “This is Ras Esau. He gave me a ride home.”
    “Great,” Michael had said, smiling. “Nice to meet you, Ras Esau.”
    Esau had stood. “Nice meeting you too, Michael. Time to hit the road. See you around, Josette.”
    After Esau left, she and Michael had gone to bed.
    “So you like the Rasta man, huh,” Michael had said, after they’d made love.
    “Yeah. You okay with it?”
    “Sure. We didn’t make any commitment to each other. Do you want him in your bed?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “Does he feel the same way about you?”
    “I think so.”
    “Okay. Call me if you need me.”
    They’d fallen asleep and the next night Ras Esau had been in her bed making her squeal like a stuck pig. She’d never experienced such intense orgasms in her life. He was well hung and knew how to use his tool. She’d moved in with him the following weekend.
    Now after living and falling madly in love with him for the past fourteen months, she was not going to jeopardize her relationship with him by giving the cops any information about the two guys she’d seen firing shots as if they were in a western movie. No siree. Nearly everyone on the island was related. She’d be taking a risk giving the police information. She didn’t want to be raped, beaten and killed. She didn’t want her family taking her back home in a body bag. She couldn’t understand why there was so much crime on such a small island. A paradise island some would give their eye-tooth to inhabit. Why would those young fools want to be in gangs, she wondered. Why don’t they grow marijuana and sell dime bags. Life on this paradise island is sweet nectar which should be enjoyed.
    She left the parking lot and made her way to the apartment she shared with Esau. When she entered the bedroom he was lying in bed smoking marijuana cigarette.
    “So what’s happening out there?” he asked, lazily.
    “The usual. The police are questioning people, and the dead boy’s mother is crying…”
    “The police question you?”
    “Yes. I told them that I saw a man and some children running, and that’s all I saw.”
    “Good for you. We don’t want to get involved. We don’t need the police bothering us.”
    “Gotcha,” she said.
    “Come give daddy some sugga,” he said, sucking the remaining smoke out of the cigarette.
    She joined him in bed and when their sex session was over he fell asleep immediately.
    She left him sleeping and went to prepare dinner. Today was her day off and she was enjoying it as usual as she spent most of it in bed with Esau. It hadn’t taken her long to see that he did not like to work. When they started dating he’d told her that he’d gotten injured on the job and was collecting Workmen’s Compensation. She smiled as she put three slices of seasoned and lightly-floured kingfish into the skillet. She just couldn’t get enough of that sweet Rasta man she’d given her heart to. A laugh bubbled in her throat as she thought about his injured back.
    “Injured back my ass,” she said, softly. “A person with a bad back would not be able to buck like a wild stallion when having those earth-shattering orgasms. And Esau really does ride me hard.”
    She turned off the heat under the potatoes, drained them, added butter and bacon bits and mashed them, wondering if the police officers were still in the parking lot.



  2. #2
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: JUST A SNIPPET

    "They came to gawk, but they were not helping the police by withholding information."

    Yes, I know what you mean by this, but it took me a moment; at first it looked like what you meant was that if they had withheld information it would have helped the police. Maybe, "...but if they knew anything they weren't telling, and that wasn't helping."

  3. #3
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: JUST A SNIPPET

    Larry,

    Let's look at your first paragraph. My comments are in CAPS. I'm not yelling, just making it easy for you to spot comments.

    Lieutenant Petti Oliver left the crime scene and walked the short distance to the squad car. Brushing away the tears that were threatening to spill from her eyes THIS IS KINDA REDUNDANT/AWKWARD. TEARS AREN'T LIKELY TO SPILL FROM HER EARS., she swore under her breath. This was the third homicide on the island in three weeks. She glanced back at the prone figure on the ground CONSIDER DELETING "ON THE GROUND.". This one was hitting her where it hurts HURT, NOT HURTS. “@!#$,” she muttered. “He’s only eleven years old. Eleven freaking years old!” LATER, YOU HAVE MEYERS SAY EXACTLY THE SAME THING. CHANGE ONE OF THEM. She saw her partner, Lieutenant Lawrence Meyers staring at her, his expression grim.
    The sun was just setting over the horizon. They’d been at the crime scene since 5:00 p.m. and still hadn’t gotten a clue I CAN'T EXPLAIN WHY, BUT THIS PHRASE IS AWKWARD. OTHERS MAY DISAGREE. as to which of the gang members was responsible for the senseless shooting of the young boy lying dead in the parking lot at Harbor View Housing Community.
    Oliver noticed the growing crowd gathered in the parking lot and turned her head away in disgust. They came to gawk, but they were not helping the police by withholding information. AS JOE SAID, THIS NEEDS TO BE REVISED. One woman was sobbing. A young man, about seventeen years old, was patting her arm murmuring words of comfort. The woman blew her nose in a soggy paper towel. The young man glanced at Oliver and she could feel the hostility emanating from his entire being. She could also feel eyes boring into her back and hear the whispers from the onlookers. LOOK FOR WAYS TO ELIMINATE "WAS" AND "COULD." FOR EXAMPLE, THE YOUNG MAN GLANCED AT OLIVER AND SHE FELT THE HOSTILITY... ANOTHER EXAMPLE A FEW LINES DOWN IN THE TEXT---"They were always blaming the police when a crime was committed." WOULD YOUR WRITING BE STRONGER IF YOU SAY SOMETHING LIKE "THE POLICE ALWAYS TOOK THE BLAME WHEN A MURDER OCCURRED?

    Then you have a dialogue passage. About all it does is establish nobody knows (or will reveal) anything, and that Josette is a white woman living with a black man. Some of the dialogue is borderline cliche. I'm thinking particularly of the bit where Petti tells Josette to let her know if she remembers anything else. Look for a more fresh way to say it.

    After that comes an info dump about the V.I. Consider getting rid of it. Work it into the tale if it's important.

    And then comes the long passage with Josette's background after arriving in the V.I. I tried to read it, but ended up skimming. The writing is kind of flat. I'm not saying it's awful, just that it doesn't draw in this reader. Others may disagree.

    Some minutiae--

    You used "paradise Island" twice in two sentences.

    Did you mean eye-teeth instead of eye-tooth. Either way, it's borderline cliche.


    "...squeal like a stuck pig" stopped me in my tracks. Pure cliche. The sentence that follows is nearly in the same category. Worse, it seems to cater to the old saws about black men.

    I don't mean to come across like I'm sandpapering you needlessly, Larry. But for this reader, the opening of the story didn't capture my interest. Your queries have focused on Petti. This opening focuses on Josette. I don't know if that's a big issue, but it's worth thinking about.

    Question---Why do you constantly use "lol" in your posts. I've noticed it for a long time. It's like a nervous tic. Doesn't mean much in the greater scheme of things, but it's distracting.

    Anyway, hope this helps.

    Feel free to ignore.

    Cur

  4. #4
    larry moses
    Guest

    Re: JUST A SNIPPET

    Well, I asked for it and I got it. Thanks Joe and Smiling C. I'll make some major changes.

    But, I thought a person had to set the stage when telling a story. Josette plays an important role in the story. Since Petti is the one playing the major role I had to use her in the query.

    People like to read info about the island or country where the story is set.

  5. #5
    Karen Campbell
    Guest

    Re: JUST A SNIPPET

    No, Larry, people don't like to read info about the island or country where the story is set. They like watching interesting people do interesting things, preferably with a good dose of conflict driving the action. I saw potential in the earlier portion of your snippet, but dumped out as soon as it turned into a Wikipedia entry. Honestly, I thought you might be testing us with its inclusion. Of course you need to do scene setting, but description is best set into motion (palm fronds fluttering, people moving on the beach, that sort of thing) and remember that many readers will simply skip forward to the action. Of course, that is my opinion and you are welcome to ignore it.

  6. #6
    larry moses
    Guest

    Re: JUST A SNIPPET

    Well...thank you, Karen. It's a good thing I didn't send out the three chapters the agent asked for. I'll just re-write the story so that it turns out like a Daniele Steele or one of the best-selling authors.

    I sometimes skip forward right to the action when I read best-sellers.

    Are you a traditional published author, Karen? If so, congrats!!!!

  7. #7
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: JUST A SNIPPET

    Larry,

    Kudos on your memorable name choices: Petti Oliver and Josette.

    2,423 words. Hardly a snippet. More like two-and-a-half times the 1,000 words most of us have the time and energy to read. Especially since you didn't put an extra space between the paragraphs.

    But, I thought a person had to set the stage when telling a story. Josette plays an important role in the story.

    I skimmed long enough to see that your info dump, giving the footage of each island and a ton of other facts, guide-book style, will quickly make most readers lose interest. I fail to see why the fact that Josette can read a guide book (as can millions of Americans) shows the reader anything about her character or personality.

    There's no law that says you have to set the stage at the beginning of a novel. A lot depends on the genre. Police procedural and other similar styles of murder mysteries are some of the faster-paced novels, often beginning in medias res.

    I read mainly literary novels, memoirs and various genres of mystery novels, which means I read and write both slow-paced and fast-faced stories. But go ahead and attack me, too. Personally, whenever someone takes the time and energy to critique my work for free, I thank everybody, take what I need and leave the rest, without debating who's the smartest. When two or more writers point out the same flaws in my writing, I don't act defensive and huffy. I get busy revising, gratefully.

    Best,
    Janice

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts