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  1. #1
    Jay S
    Guest

    This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    Below is a paragraph of mine (the beginning of chapter 2). I have been re-writing my original novel in hopes of doing better the second time around.

    Thoughts?

    ------

    Elijah felt the familiar cold stare of the old lady next door as she stuck her rubbery neck out her upstairs window. Just as he heard her roll up her voice, ready to shout at him for walking through her yard, Elijah’s grandmother, Beatrice, shouted, “Come and help me with the groceries.”

    -----



  2. #2
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    loose images that will, I think, make the reader stop and contemplate, which isn't what you want them to do on background material. What exactly is a rubbery neck like? How do you roll up a voice?

    Trying too hard to be arty, I think.

  3. #3
    Page Turner
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    Jay, I get the rubbery neck image. I'm reminded of my young cousin's innocent question to my late grandmother, "Nanna, why do you have a screwed up neck?" The ravages of age can be described in various ways. Your's resonates with me. My reading of the "rolled up a voice" thing is based in the fact that it evokes memories of those blurty paper whistles that were obligatory at people of my generation's birthday parties, but that's my reading. I wonder if others would read it the same way. A different image might serve you better.
    Gary is a more experienced poster to this site, so I tend to defer to his opinion.

  4. #4
    junel ;-)
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    "as she stuck her rubbery neck out her upstairs window."

    you wanna put 'of' in their:

    "as she stuck her rubbery neck out of her upstairs window."

    It's pretty hard to judge something on two sentences alone.

    But on two sentences alone, I liked it. Kind of Roald Dahl-esque. That may seem like a positive comparison, but it could be negative, if that's not what your going for? See, I can't tell on two sentences alone, and without the rest or more of the chapter, without a context.

    It’s quite a different style from your first chapter. But then, that can be put down to the change in POV I suppose. Shows your ability to adapt as a writer, which is good.

    I liked 'rubbery neck'. Perfectly suited.

    When I read “Just as he heard her roll up her voice…” I thought what? But the following sentence wonderfully defines it.

    Some suggestions:

    “Just as he heard her roll up her voice…”

    Would he be able to hear her roll up her voice from where is? I think not. I get what your to trying to say, that she inhales deeply, and the imagery is brilliant. But not plausible. Perhaps something like:

    Just as he sensed her roll up her voice…

    Or,

    Just as he imagined her roll up her voice…

    I think ‘imagined’ works best.

    Also, I would change the word ‘shouted’ to ‘yelled’, as you have used ‘shout’ already in that sentence.

    Post a much bigger excerpt?

  5. #5
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    The roll up her voice thing sounds weird. I keep thinking of car windows.

  6. #6
    L Bea
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    Just as he heard her roll up her voice, ready to shout at him for walking through her yard, Elijah’s grandmother, Beatrice, shouted, “Come and help me with the groceries.”

    I think it would be more effective to show him wincing or stiffening or some other kind of body language that shows he's bracing himself for her scolding (rather than hearing about rolling up her voice -- what an odd phrase). Or if he doesn't really care that she's gonna yell at him cuz he's a rebel, then he does something flippant and renegade to show that.

    Bea

  7. #7
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    OK, I'll try to expand on my posting. It's not that I couldn't figure out what these image descriptors meant (at least for me). I even might find (at least some of) them delicious. But therein lies the problem. Whatever the case, the reader is likely to stop and think about them. And when they come two to a clause or sentence, the reader is going to read in a jerky motion that throws him/her off the track of the storyline repeatedly. I don't think a reader would have the energy to stick with this very long.

    That's what I meant as probably too arty. Lots of thought-provoking images. That's better for a book of proverbs than a murder mystery novel. Majoring in the minors. Here, this is being expended on a tertiary character and is just a sidetrip from the plotline (or at least that's how it appears from the small snippet provided). Again if you are going to be making a lot of these sidetrips, you're sending the reader off the rails. (And if you aren't, the treatment is uneven.) The longer the work, the less this is going to work for you as anything but overshooting the targets (I think).

  8. #8
    junel ;-)
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    I have to respectfully disagree with Gary.. there is nothing to too unclear of the two sentences, it's all pretty straight forward, and i don't think too many readers would stop to think it over.

  9. #9
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    I'm with Gary. The descriptors stopped me cold.

    I like using the word, "towards," instead of, "toward," as in, John walked towards the exit. The dictionary shows either usage is fine, yet, critiquers always mark every "towards" in my stories as incorrect because it stopped them cold. I finally switched to writing "toward." Some readers may be fine with adding the "s" but I don't want to risk losing the majority of my readers.

    Best,
    Janice

  10. #10
    mar quesa
    Guest

    Re: This Should Be Quick... (One Paragraph)

    The "rubbery neck" didn't bother me at all. In fact, I found it funny and interesting. However, the "roll of her voice" expression baffled me.

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