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  1. #1
    Ab Kaye
    Guest

    Fresh meat for critique :)

    Hi everyone, this is my first post and I'm hoping to receive some feedback on part of my novel. If you have some time I would love for anyone to take a look!

    This is a small part of one of my chapters (I don't find that it's necessary for background info here, but if anyone needs it, let me know!):


    Stretched out with my feet in the air, just hours after the incident with Finley, I was picking at loose strands of thread on my new bedspread. Frustration brimming inside with my complete and utter lack of any control of my life. The current situation left me powerless and pondering how I had come to be under the advisement of such strangers. A thought sparked in my mind at that moment. Why did I have to wait around for them to tell me what I longed to know? I could learn everything I needed to know on my own, and finally feel like I belong.
    Jumping out of bed with the sudden jolt of excitement, this leap was followed quickly by a pang of disappointment as reality washed over me in a violent wave. I couldn’t very well go snooping around the house when everyone was home and, most likely, in the rooms in which I would need to look.
    I resigned myself to do it later. But soon, very soon. Plans began to form in my mind, there must be something incriminating in the house, right? A photo, or a license, perhaps. Something, anything, that would lend a hand in my investigation.
    I had never been so curious in my entire life. Intrigue had me hooked, had me burning to know more, to discover what was being hidden from me. Being sheltered and ignored was infuriating, I almost would prefer being alone again. At least in that relationship I was the only person who could lie to me. A healthy companionship, I thought with humor, how blessed I had been. Just hours with Verona and I had already picked up on her sarcasm. Thank goodness my inner monologue would remain private.
    I whiled away the time by counting how many ridges were in the wooden ceiling. I did so with a smidgen of a smile on my face, despite my annoyance, because it seems a very cliché thing to do when one is faced with an exorbitantly unreasonable amount of time on their hands. I had ascended by several hundred in my tally when I awoke from my numeric stupor long enough to notice the hands resting within the analog clock that was sitting awkwardly on my bedside table. I noted that it was past midnight and, remembering why I had begun counting in the first place, my curiosity returned. My pulse quickened and I let out a soft laugh, hoping that my next moves would go noticed by only the sleeping house, with its polished floors and still air. I reasoned that I could do a quick check of all the common areas tonight and check the bedrooms in the morning. A seamless plan, I commended myself.



  2. #2
    Lea Zalas
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Hey Ab,

    I'll give it a shot. This was wordy. Sometimes a short powerful sentence will convey more than overused adjectives. Just remember these are only suggestions and you have write your story in your own wordes. (Suggestions in black.) And for future reference, when posting, put an extra return between paragraphs - makes it easier to read.

    Stretched out with my feet in the air, just hours after the incident with Finley, I was picking at loose strands of thread on my new bedspread. Is this person just holding their feet up in the air, or do they have them braced against the wall?

    Frustration brimming inside with my complete and utter (complete and utter mean the same thing in this context - redundant) lack of any control of my life. The current situation left me powerless and pondering how I had come to be under the advisement of such strangers. Both sentences convey the same feeling, try to combine into one: Frustrated by such a complete lack of control over my life left me feeling powerless and wondering how I came to be under the dominion of these people.

    A thought sparked in my mind at that moment. Why did I have to wait around for them to tell me what I longed to know? I could learn everything I needed to know on my own, and finally feel like I belong. Suddenly it hit me. I didn't have to wait for them to tell me what I wanted to know, I could find it out for myself.

    Jumping out of bed with the sudden jolt of excitement, this leap was followed quickly by a pang of disappointment as reality washed over me in a violent wave. I couldn’t very well go snooping around the house when everyone was home and, most likely, in the rooms in which I would need to look. I jumped out of bed with a burst of excitement, quickly followed by a pang of disappointment. I couldn't go snooping around the house with everyone home.

    I resigned myself to do it later. But soon, very soon. Plans began to form in my mind, there must be something incriminating in the house, right? A photo, or a license, perhaps. Something, anything, that would lend a hand in my investigation. I resigned myself to waiting until after everyone had gone to bed. Using this time, a plan began to form, surely I would find something - a photo, or a license, perhaps. Anything that would further my investigation.

    I had never been so curious in my entire life. Intrigue had me hooked, had me burning to know more, to discover what was being hidden from me. Being sheltered and ignored was infuriating, I almost would prefer being alone again. At least in that relationship I was the only person who could lie to me. A healthy companionship, I thought with humor, how blessed I had been. Just hours with Verona and I had already picked up on her sarcasm. Thank goodness my inner monologue would remain private. Motivated by finally having a plan, I couldn't wait to begin my search for the hidden evidence. The rest of this doesn't mean much because you didn't have any backstory, so I'll leave it alone.

    I whiled away the time by counting how many ridges were in the wooden ceiling. I whiled away the time counting the ridges in the rough, wooden ceiling. It wouldn't be amiss to give the reader a little look at the room.

    I did so with a smidgen of a smile on my face, despite my annoyance, because it seems a very cliché thing to do when one is faced with an exorbitantly unreasonable amount of time on their hands. Kind of a boring sentence.

    I had ascended by several hundred in my tally when I awoke from my numeric stupor long enough to notice the hands resting within the analog clock that was sitting awkwardly on my bedside table. I noted that it was past midnight and, remembering why I had begun counting in the first place, my curiosity returned. The counting worked and when I awoke, it was after midnight. Leave out 'my curiosity returned' because you start the next sentence with a similar phase.

    My pulse quickened and I let out a soft laugh, hoping that my next moves would go noticed by only the sleeping house, with its polished floors and still air. I jumped up, excitement quickly flaring through my body, and let out a soft laugh.

    I reasoned that I could do a quick check of all the common areas tonight and check the bedrooms in the morning. A seamless plan, I commended myself. I decided to do a quick check of all the deseted common areas tonight, and then I could go through the bedrooms in the morning after everyone left. I commended myself on coming up with a great plan.

    Again, just suggestions.

    Lea

  3. #3
    Lea Zalas
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    deseted - should be 'deserted' Sorry.

    Lea

  4. #4
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Whole lotta clutter, bad word choices, weak verbs, tense shifts, etc. Read it cut by over a third and tell me if it reads any better:


    Just hours after the incident with Finley, I picked at loose threads on my new bedspread, frustrated at my utter lack of control of my life. I pondered how I landed under the authority of such strangers. Then a thought sparked in my mind - why should I wait for them to tell me what I longed to know? I could learn everything on my own and finally feel like I belonged.

    I leapt out of bed with excitement, which was soon dispelled by a pang of disappointment when I realized I couldn’t very well snoop around the house with everyone at home and, most likely, in the very rooms I needed to search.

    I resigned myself to search later, but soon…very soon. There must be something incriminating in the house…a photo, or a license perhaps…something, anything to aid my investigation.

    Intrigue hooked me and curiosity consumed me, as I burned to uncover secrets. Being sheltered and ignored infuriated me; I almost preferred isolation again. At least in that circumstance, I was the only person who could lie to me - a healthy companionship – what a blessing! I chuckled. Just a few hours with Verona, and I already mimicked her sarcasm. Thank goodness my thoughts remained private.

    I counted the ridges in the wooden ceiling and smiled a little, despite my annoyance, because it seemed like such a cliché activity to kill time. I counted several hundred before waking from my numeric stupor long enough to notice the clock on my bedside table. It was past midnight. My pulse quickened and I laughed softly, hoping only the sleeping house with its polished floors and still air would notice my next moves. I would check all the common areas tonight and the bedrooms in the morning.

  5. #5
    Cindy Kay
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Ab,

    One of the things I liked about this section is the feel I get for the character -- fastidious, uncertain, impulsive -- and you do this all without any telling, the picking at threads, the counting, gyrating thoughts.

    You've got a good impulse for showing writing. But what can happen is that we get unsure if readers are getting us when we do so much showing so we end up piling the words up. I'd try to shorten this by at least a third, which will force out all the spongy parts and force you to trust your reader to get you.

    Hope this helps. Love to see it again when you've worked your magic.

  6. #6
    Ab Kaye
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Thanks so much for reading and giving your feedback Lea and John, it\'s hard when you spend your time writing and writing to get a sense of how others will interpret it, which is why I put this part up- I knew there were many things that didn\'t work with it!

    Cindy- I spent a lot of time reading the critiques given to others and knew that most people had difficulty with \"telling\" vs \"showing\" - so I think I went a little overboard in my attempts to avoid that pitfall!
    Thank you for your kind words, you\'re very supportive- it\'s nice to know that it wasn\'t a completely failed attempt. Lol


    Take Deux:


    Hours later, I lay flat on my belly, knees bent with my feet hovering above me. I picked at loose strands of thread on my new bedspread, frustrated with the lack of control over my own life. Being under the advisement of strangers left me marveling at how powerless I had become and I longed to learn more about what they hid from me. In that instant a liberating thought came to me: I could find out on my own.

    With my sudden jolt of excitement came an equally surprising pang of disappointment as reality washed over me in a violent wave. How impractical of me to get excited so foolishly when the rooms I needed to search still had people in them.

    I had jumped to my feet in my excitement, and now my shoulders shrugged forward as I fell back into my bed. Later, I told myself, is when I would search for the incriminating evidence, photos and IDs. Something, anything, that would lend a hand in my investigation.

    I had never been so curious in my entire life. Intrigue had me hooked, had me burning to know more, to discover what was being hidden from me. Being sheltered and ignored was infuriating, I almost would prefer being alone again. At least in that relationship I was the only person who could lie to me. A healthy companionship, I thought with humor, how blessed I had been. Just hours with Verona and I had already picked up on her sarcasm. Thank goodness my inner monologue would remain private.

    I whiled away the time by counting how many ridges were in the wooden ceiling, laughing at myself, despite my annoyance, at how cliché an activity it is. I had ascended by several hundred in my tally when I awoke from my numeric stupor long enough to notice the hands resting within the clock that on my bedside table. My curiosity flared as I saw them pointing to the small hours of the morning. My pulse quickened and I let out a soft laugh, hoping that my next moves would go noticed by only the sleeping house, with its polished floors and still air. I reasoned that I could do a quick check of all the common areas tonight and check the bedrooms in the morning. A seamless plan, I commended myself.

  7. #7
    Ab Kaye
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    I just noticed a couple mistakes that happened in my rewrite...
    P5: ...the hands resting within the clock that sat* on my bedside table.
    ...at how cliché an activity it was.*

    And for some reason some of my punctuation was given backslash marks? I don't know if that's typical of posting on this forum or not!

  8. #8
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Whole lotta clutter, bad word choices, weak verbs, tense shifts, etc. Use simple past or present tense whenever possible. As much as possible, eliminate any variant of the verbs to be, to have, to get, to do.

    Do you know what "advisement" means?

  9. #9
    Cindy Kay
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Ab,

    You didn't trim by a third.

    I think from this one example you should be able to extrapolate how to do so.

    You wrote: With my sudden jolt of excitement...

    A jolt is, by definition, sudden; the sudden quality is inherent in the word "jolt." You've got so many places in which you do this sort of thing, explaining things twice, whether it be one word, like this, or entire phrases and sentences. And that violent wave being equated to washing, which is a gentle action. If you find the right word in the first place -- crash, perhaps? -- you won't need to pad it to create the image/mood you want.

  10. #10
    Ab Kaye
    Guest

    Re: Fresh meat for critique :)

    Thank you for your patience, I'm trying really hard to apply the advice you're giving me -- don't think it's falling upon deaf ears, it's just really difficult when the writing, of course, makes perfect sense to me! Please let me know if I'm at least headed in the right direction with my edits, that way I know if I'm getting warmer or going backwards, or just completely sucking.

    Cindy- I think I cut out all of those instances of repetition-- Which I think is just me being overeager in getting my point across. I did take out the violent wave part (ironically, I didn't even do that on purpose) but I originally did like that word choice because when I think of a wave I don't think of gentle waves, I automatically think of tsunami-like ones. I didn't consider that "washed" would seem so gentle, but you nailed it head on with the word "crash"


    Taking the "cut one third" to heart, I went from 459 words to 311:


    I was frustrated as I lay on my bed later that evening, absentmindedly picking at loose strands in the bedspread and musing over the lack of power I had in my own life. A jolt of excitement ran through my static body as I realized that I could act on my own and uncover the information they hid from me! I had jumped to my feet only to fall back to the bed a moment later in defeat after remembering that the rooms would surely be filled the people I sought to deceive. Resigning to do it later on, I began to formulate my plans around the hidden photos and evidence I was convinced I would find.

    Intrigue had me hooked and burning to know more, to discover secrets in this new place. The family sheltered and ignored me, and I preferred being alone again to such treatment. At least in that relationship I was the only person who could lie. A healthy companionship, I thought, smirking at my joke. The fact that I spent mere hours with Verona and I was already imitating her sarcasm made me thankful that no one could hear my thoughts.

    My investigation of the house was to happen once everyone fell asleep and I whiled away the time by counting how many ridges were in the beams of the wooden ceiling -- laughing, despite my annoyance, at my cliché activity. The tally had grown phenomenally before I noticed that the hands in my bedside clock pointed into the small hours of the morning, assuring me that everyone had gone to bed. My pulse quickened and I let out a soft laugh of giddiness, hoping that my next moves would go noticed by only the sleeping house, with its polished floors and still air. I had a seamless plan in place, and I inwardly complimented my cleverness.

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