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  1. #1
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    How does this come across? #2

    Following advice and input from Charles Simon and John Oberon (thanks to both!) I decided to re-write and ditch the diary idea, instead writing this in the third person as back story to my character.

    Thanks, John, for the advice about selflessness... I hope this comes over better. I'm still working on it.

    *****

    The day he realized he loved her, they'd gone to Forty Foot, the swimming place out at Sandycove. It was a crisp and chilly February day and when he breathed in, his nostril tingled; and when he breathed out the plumes of his breath billowed out like snowy candy floss.

    He had always thought that people who wanted to go and swim outside in the freezing cold were lunatics, mad bastards, but when Sam wanted to go, he readily agreed, like it was the most normal thing in the world. He wanted to do anything to please her, to make her happy. So he wore his least embarrassing swim trunks and jumped in, and ignored the fact that his mickey shrivelled to the size of a maggot and his nads retreated to a warmer, safer place inside his body. Ignored it all because Sam looked so happy, splashing around in her candy striped swim suit, and her laugh sounded like crystal glasses clinking together as the wind danced with it and carried it around the cove.

    And afterwards, they went to Bewleys on Grafton Street, and she treated him to hot chocolate, and they sat huddled together, looking down out the window onto the cold street.

    And he'd known.



  2. #2
    Book Werm
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    I don't know what you thought technical problems were, but this is beautiful writing and I am right there with him.

    BW

  3. #3
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Thanks, BW

    I just spotted an annoying error! Nostril should be nostrils!!!! Aaaargh. At least I spotted it before I finish my MS (I copied and pasted from there).

  4. #4
    Charles Simon
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Debbi, I think this works so much better than in the diary form earlier. I totally agree with Book Werm, I'm there with him now and that makes it so much more alive.

    Personally I might change a couple of tiny details but that is really a highly subjective matter of personal taste. For example, I would consider dropping the "And" in "And afterwards, they..." and instead just write "Afterwards, they...".

    Details. :-)

    Nice work!

  5. #5
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Charles. You're very kind. I am looking at the "And" thing.

    Debbi

  6. #6
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Okay, first of all...WAY better as far as feeling, but I think your style, sentence structure, and word choice really cripples this. Here are the main problems I saw:

    1. Empty verbs – to be, to have, to go, to want, to do, to look – eliminate them as much as possible.

    2. Verbs with prepositions – breathed in, breathed out, billowed out, jumped in, looking down – weak.

    3. inconsistent tense – use past tense.

    4. Redundant phrases – lunatics, mad bastards; to please her, to make her happy.

    5. TMI – we don’t need to know he breathed in and out and the extent of shriveling.

    6. Clashing sentiment - real love makes you more high-minded. Words that would never enter my mind when describing (or experiencing) a scene of blossoming love: “maggot”, “shrivel”, “mickey”, and “nads”.

    7. Awkward or stilted sentence structure.

    Now read it when I address each of these items and cut it by 20%. Tell me if it reads better. And by the way…that last sentence of the second paragraph? Philip Pullman’s got nothing on you.

    The day he realized he loved her, they drove to Forty Foot, the swimming place at Sandycove. It was a crisp, chilly February day; his nostrils tingled, and his breath billowed like snowy candy floss.

    He always thought people who swam outside in the freezing cold were lunatics, but when Sam asked him, he readily agreed, like it was the most wonderful idea in the world. He would do anything to please her, so he wore his least embarrassing swim trunks and jumped. His heart almost stopped at the shock of the icey cold, but it soon melted when he saw Sam so happy, splashing around in her candy striped swim suit. Her laugh sounded like crystal glasses clinking together as the wind danced with it and carried it around the cove.

    Afterwards, they shivered their way to Bewleys on Grafton Street, and she treated him to hot chocolate and huddled with him as they gazed through a window at the cold street below.

    Then he knew.

  7. #7
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Hi John

    I really appreciate that you took the time to read again. I am considering some of your advice, which is welcome.

    And though your re-write has merits, I prefer mine. It's written with MY voice, whereas your passage is in yours. The words my character uses reflect his personality and the way he speaks, and are the way a young, jack the lad would talk about his body parts.

    I'm not dissing your input, truly, and I do NOT think that I am without fault. I have taken some advice from you that I can use. But I am never a fan of someone re-writing someone else's work, because writing voices are a unique fingerprint of an author and IMHO should not be altered.

    Thanks so much to you (and the others) for your time. I really appreciate it and it has helped me immensely.

    Debbi

  8. #8
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    No problem. I never expected you to adopt my re-write, but I think you would do well to address those concerns I raised. My re-write was how I would address them; you'd obviously address them differently.

    I was under the impression that this was no longer a diary entry, but a third-person description, and it was no longer so much the words the character would use, but what the narrator would use as applied to the character. I still strongly disagree about "nads", etc. That sort of thinking is the furthest from a man's mind when he falls in love, whether he's young or old or blue-collar or white-collar. He does not think of his body parts, but of the girl. But as I say, if he's a narcissistic, immature, crass sort of person, whom even true love cannot shake from his self-absorption, then alrighty. It's pretty clear why loving someone besides himself would torture him, lol. That's ready-made foreshadowing.

    But if this fellow is not narcisstic, immature, and crass, I don't think he would think those things at that time. Now if jack the lad were with his buddies, then yep, nad away...but not when he's alone with the girl whom he thinks he really loves for the first time. Not happening, IMHO.

  9. #9
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Hi John

    the character is certainly not any of the things you said, so you have given me food for thought. Thanks.

    Debbi

  10. #10
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: How does this come across? #2

    Here's the general rule I follow when writing "true love": any details the person in love notices concern the object of their love and never themselves. In other words, they don't notice their mickey and nads, even in ice water; the object of their love crowds all that out. When they think of themselves, it mostly concerns the emotion and feeling and their amazement at the power of it, but precious few details. It's the details they see in the object of their love that serve to heighten that cloud of emotion and feeling, the curve of a lip, the wrinkle of a nose, the tilt of a head. True love is almost entirely selfless; you think almost entirely of the other person, not of yourself, and you like it that way. That's my opinion based on my own experience and what I've seen in many other kinds of men.

    Now if you can translate that kind of sentiment through the filter of your "jack the lad character", I'd say yay. But as it stands now, you ain't quite got it, IMHO.

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