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  1. #1
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    Critcism Required

    Hi

    I originally wrote this for a writing class, and am thinking of expanding it.

    Any critical comments or feedback are appreciated.

    Thanks.

    ‘Isn’t it convenient,’ the girl said. ‘That Ballard and Burroughs are so close
    together?’
    Scarlet hair, a loop of silver puncturing one nostril and blue block text scored
    into one fleshless forearm: WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
    He’d seen her first at the meeting a month before. She’d declared her name and
    the date of her last drink. Now, she gave him an appraising look.
    ‘I like a man in a grey suit,’ she said, pointing with an etiolated finger. ‘But who is it you remind me of?’
    He was frozen in a marvellous fear.
    ‘Miller,’ she answered her own question. ‘Definitely Miller. I just can’t decide if it’s Henry or Arthur.’
    She drifted through the alphabet, turned her back on history, and ignored politics altogether.
    She eventually chose a children’s book that, as a child, he had always been denied. She withdrew it from the shelf and held it out to him.
    ‘Get it for me?’ she asked.
    He hesitated.
    ‘Get it for me,’ she instructed. The pitch of her voice compelled attention. Customers looked at her.
    He took the book and groped for his wallet.
    As they left the bookshop, she slipped her arm around his waist. He’d crossed a threshold, knowing he would not easily get back.



  2. #2
    martin shaw
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    Re: Critcism Required

    ‘Isn’t it convenient,’ the girl said. ‘That Ballard and Burroughs are so close
    together?’
    Scarlet hair, a loop of silver puncturing one nostril and blue block text scored
    into one fleshless forearm: WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? ‘

    ::::::::::::::::I need to look at what is written before it to see if these first two sentences work. AAAAh, Ballard and Burrows are names. Yes, good; it does work!

    He’d seen her first at the meeting a month before. She’d declared her name and
    the date of her last drink. Now, she gave him an appraising look.
    ‘I like a man in a grey suit,’ she said, pointing with an etiolated finger. ‘But who is it you remind me of?’
    He was frozen in a marvellous fear.’

    ::::::::::::::::I definitely need to read an earlier part of the story to understand were this is coming from. This could still work; that’s if HE wants to go to some sort of dark side, and that’s maybe not such a wild guess

    ‘Miller,’ she answered her own question. ‘Definitely Miller. I just can’t decide if it’s Henry or Arthur.’
    She drifted through the alphabet, turned her back on history, and ignored politics altogether.
    She eventually chose a children’s book that, as a child, he had always been denied. She withdrew it from the shelf and held it out to him.
    ‘Get it for me?’ she asked.
    He hesitated.
    ‘Get it for me,’ she instructed. The pitch of her voice compelled attention. Customers looked at her.
    He took the book and groped for his wallet.

    ::::::::::::::::Um, I think ‘demanded’ rather than ‘compelled’

    As they left the bookshop, she slipped her arm around his waist. He’d crossed a threshold, knowing he would not easily get back.

    ::::::::::::::::It’s all quite dark on the whole like I have said, but is too small a part to have anything really concrete to say.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: Critcism Required

    I'm going to assume that the formatting went all to heck during the copy/paste process.

    "Etiolated" took me out of the story immediately. It's the kind of word rookies use in hopes of impressing editors with their erudition. (Yeah, "erudition" would be another one.) Use "whitened," "pale," or "blanched."

    If it's the beginning, I want to know more about the protag before buying into his "marvellous fear." That phrase took me out again.

    Otherwise, not too bad. You've managed to etch a pretty good portrait of the girl in a few short sentences. That's not easy to do.

    Go and ahead and work on it more. You might end up with something worthwhile.

  4. #4
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    Re: Critcism Required

    Hey, thanks.

    Frank, you're right. I did a copy and paste but it didn't work out.

    Do you think 'etiolated' is so bad? I understood it to mean thin, and I already said the girl is 'fleshless'. But maybe you're right. Maybe I was trying to be clever and needed soemone to tell me.

    Martin. Why so restrained?

  5. #5
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: Critcism Required

    Restrained?
    Thing is, I think the whole lot could still work well depending on what genre the book is in.
    At the moment, Zooey, it doesn’t read much on its own, and it’s too predictable to pick up on most of the things already stated in the first two critics, but maybe it’s only because I have read a tad more of your work.

    THIS COULD STILL WORK WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: Critcism Required

    Thanks Frank. I too, was wondering what "Etiolated" meant. Zooey it's not a bad thing to make your readers stretch their vocabulary, but don't make them have to run for the dictionary to look up a word before they can understand what you meant. Most won't do it.

    I like it - sounds like a guy getting involved with a girl who is going to not only turn his world upside down, then she's going to shake it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Re: Critcism Required

    I thought it not too bad for an excerpt. Just a few things jumped out at me:

    1. Double quotes and appropriate punctuation for dialog.
    2. Lose a few of the dialog tags.
    3. Her forearm is not fleshless unless she's a living skeleton, and nothing's scored in it unless someone carved it with a knife.
    4. Use simple past tense.
    5. Avoid empty verbs such as to have, to be, to look, etc. as much as possible.
    6. You have a parsing mannerism. You tend to insert dependent clauses in a middle of a sentence. Watch out for that and try to combine sentences more.

    So something like this:

    “Isn’t it convenient that Ballard and Burroughs are so close together?”

    The girl sported scarlet hair, a loop of silver puncturing one nostril, and a blue block “What would Jesus do?” tattooed on a skeletal forearm. He first noticed her at the meeting a month before where she declared her name and the date of her last drink. Now she appraised him.

    ”I like a man in a grey suit,” she said, pointing a boney finger, “but who is it you remind me of?”

    He was frozen in a marvelous fear.

    ”Miller,” she answered, “definitely Miller. I just can’t decide if it’s Henry or Arthur.”

    She drifted through the alphabet, turned her back on history, and ignored politics altogether.

    She eventually chose a children’s book that was always denied him as a child. She withdrew it from the shelf and held it out to him.

    ”Get it for me?”

    He hesitated.

    ”Get it for me,” she commanded. The pitch of her voice drew stares from customers.

    He took the book and groped for his wallet.

    As they left the bookshop, she slipped her arm around his waist, and he knew he had crossed a threshold he would not easily exit.

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Re: Critcism Required

    By the way, "etiolated" means weak or sickly, and I think it applies primarily to plants.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Re: Critcism Required

    Hey John

    You make some apposite observations.

    My version reads better than yours though.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Re: Critcism Required

    You use wrong words, wrong punctuation, empty verbs, clumsy construction including multiple sentence fragments for no apparent reason, and you think yours reads better than mine.

    Alrighty then...good luck with your "writing".

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