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  1. #11
    Member
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    Aug 2010
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    59

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    Dang, Joe. Thanks for calling me out on that. I was fine with the correction, but your parenthetical addition and judgement of me rubbed me the wrong way. Not sure why you felt the need to add that. Believe me, though, you'll get more opportunities... this won't be the last time I screw up in my attempt to help folks.

    Lyle... Joe's right. I incorrectly used the term passive voice. I've been lazy in using passive voice as a way to describe boring writing, which past perfect can sometimes be. Although both past perfect tense and passive voice have their place, I don't think it should be in the second sentence of your MS.

    I'd use "had poured" or remove the sentence entirely. In my opinion, it's boring as written.

    d.



  2. #12
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    584

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    Leroy, I'm sorry you took that wrong. It's just that I've seen the passive voice complained about incorrectly so many times that I've started wondering why such a simple concept is misunderstood in so many ways by so many people.

  3. #13
    Karen Campbell
    Guest

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    I rather like your opening sentence, Lyle, but I do have a few suggestions:

    The rooster did not crow that morning. Rain had been pouring since twilight as the wet season in the Philippines began and a clap of thunder woke Jack Hibbard out of a pleasant, summer dream. *****I don’t believe you need the comma as you wouldn’t say “pleasant and summer dream” I believe it’s a summer dream which happens to be pleasant.

    “Not today,” he grumbled as he jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. He took a large matchbox sitting on the moist sill and cautiously opened it. “Good, you’re still alive.” *****It appears as if the rain represented a threat to the lizard but I don’t believe you make it clear why that would be the case. Did the temperatures drop with the rain? And if it’s been raining since twilight, wouldn’t he have anticipated the rain before retiring for bed and therefore moved the lizard?

    An emerald-green lizard, coiled and shivering, was housed in the matchbox next to a half-eaten fig. He had rescued the little critter from a wicked neighbor about to feed it to a giant spider living in a pepper shrub. *****Do lizards coil? I know snakes do, but I would think that lizards would curl. And do lizards shiver? That seems like warm-blooded behavior rather than cold-blooded. Even if they do shiver, making the reader wonder about it could be an unwanted distraction. And the “adjective noun” repetition is noticeable: “little critter”, “wicked neighbor”, “giant spider” and “pepper shrub”.

    “I’ll get you home soon,” he smiled, before looking out the water-frosted windowpane. ***** Your speaker can’t smile his line of dialogue. It should be: “I’ll get you home soon.” He smiled before looking out the water-frosted windowpane. Although I’d drop that smiling line entirely because it doesn’t add anything. We already know it’s raining.

    I’m stopping here and since I am wobbly on grammar rules and hit and miss on the rest, you’re welcome to take my observations with a grain of salt.

    Best of luck on your rewrites.

    Karen

  4. #14
    Senior Member
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    689

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    One or two short comments---

    I think "The cock crowed" in an earlier version was fine. My caveat is maybe it's considered verboten in MG. I doubt it, but Keith and others know more about MG than I. All I'm really getting at is I hope most people know a cock is a rooster.

    I agree with others above about opening with your protag waking up. It isn't necessarily the death knell for your tale, but is very likely a prollem with an agent reading your first page.

    I'll offer comments on your opening paragraphs. It's late in this ol' mountain cave. Candle flickers. Won't be able to comment on the whole page.

    ----

    The rooster did not crow that morning. KEEP IN MIND I'M NOT SMART ABOUT MG CONVENTIONS. Rain had been pouring since twilight as the wet season in the Philippines began and a clap of thunder woke Jack Hibbard out of a pleasant, summer dream. THIS SENTENCE IS KINDA AWKWARD FOR THIS READER. WOULD IT BE BETTER IF YOU WROTE SOMETHING LIKE, THE MONSOON SEASON IN THE PHILLIPPINES MEANT RAIN HAD POURED ALL NIGHT. THUNDER WOKE JACK HUBBARD FROM A PLEASANT SUMMER DREAM. BUT, THE MORE IMPORTANT QUESTION MAY BE WHAT YOU INTEND THIS TO CONVEY. IS JACK HAPPY, SAD, PISSED, EXCITED? THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO SHOW YOUR READER SOMETHING ABOUT JACK RIGHT AWAY.

    “Not today,” WHY DOES HE SAY THIS? he grumbled as he jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. He took a large matchbox sitting on the moist sill and cautiously opened it. WHY WAS HE CAUTIOUS? YOUR READER WILL WANT TO KNOW. “Good, you’re still alive.”

    An emerald-green lizard, coiled and shivering, was housed in the matchbox next to a half-eaten fig. IS THE HALF-EATEN FIG IN THE MATCHBOX, OR NEXT TO IT. YOUR SENTENCE ISN'T CLEAR FOR THIS READER. He had rescued the little critter from a wicked neighbor about to feed it to a giant spider living in a pepper shrub. I LIKE THIS. I WANT TO BE A GIANT SPIDER. BUT THE MENTION OF A WICKED NEIGHBOR MAKES ME WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE NEIGHBOR.

    “I’ll get you home soon,” he smiled, before looking out the water-frosted windowpane. WHAT IS A WATER-FROSTED WINDOWPANE. THIS IS A NIT, BUT... YOUR PROTAG IS IN THE P.I. AIN'T GONNA BE REAL FROST, IS THERE? DO YOU MEAN SOMETHING LIKE RAIN-SPLASHED WINDOWPANE. THAT'S ROUGH, BUT YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN.

    HOPE THIS IS USEFUL. FEEL FREE TO IGNORE.

    cUR

  5. #15
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2010
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    688

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    My first inclination at reading your story was that you should add more tone to it. For instance, in the very first sentence, changing it to:
    "The roster didn't crow that morning" adds stronger tone to the story, and it's also a pretty interesting, anonymous, opening line. Your sentence structure, in some of your sentences, is also slightly confusing. It seems as though you are still trying to get a feel for the story. By feel, I mean that you have a grasp of the style with which you want to write, but lack the clarity to convey it in your sentences. Cliche's and sentence structure issues, generally are the result of a lack of clarity. You probably know that you want some sort of strong occurrence to catapult your reader into the story. I think that your story would be better served if you take time to think about what elements go well with your story and how to best incorporate them.

  6. #16
    Member
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    Aug 2010
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    44

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    Great input!

    @leslee: good point, duly noted.

    @John & Kitty: Kitty is correct, the MC is complaining "not today" - and I will try to make it more transparent to avoid readers stumbling.

    @Keith: will definitely look at thses links - thanks!

    @Joe: thanks for the scientific fact ;-) I'll figure out a way to incorporate the trick (lightning storm???)

    @d.Leroy: I'll try to make the point of 'pouring rain' more cohesive to the entire sentence, or somthing.

    @Karen: edited per your suggestion, thanks!

    @SmilingCurmudgeon: I agree with you about the other rooster name... but I may just have do a poll. And thanks for the useful suggestions.

    @AuthorPendragin: I get what you mean and will work around that, thanks!

  7. #17
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    I think the first sentence ‘the rooster did not crow that morning’ is a weak attempt at intrigue.

    Too much telling and not enough showing is perhaps the ‘cliché’ here. However... by the way you that you DO tell: it looks as though you are a strong enough writer to easily rectify.

  8. #18
    Member
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    Oct 2010
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    40

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    I didn't read the whole of it. I personally don't have any problem with a guy waking up in the morning but, another angle would be better.

    Honestly , I didn't like what I read and I have no freakind idea why. I found it boring and not interesting.

  9. #19
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    81

    Re: Page 1 of Manuscript

    I think I like d.Leroy's comment: As an example, here's how I'd start this (using your words). First sentence - A clap of thunder woke Jack Hibbard out of a pleasant, summer dream.

    I think the preceding sentence/1st part of second sentence before the "clap of thunder" part is a bit "too."

    I like your writing style, Lyle. I visualize being back in the fifth grade, going into the library for "6th" period on a Fall day...and curling up with this bad boy of a book in one of the carpeted aisles. (And that kinda thought is usually reserved for the memory of Superfudge or any other Judy Blume book!)

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