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  1. #11
    Amy Lou
    Guest

    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    -------------------------------------------------------
    > Hopefully my last one will be taken down by the
    > moderators since it's pretty much impossible to
    > read...sorry for the repeat!
    > Anyway, this is the introduction to two of the
    > main characters in my young adult novel God-Born.
    > Sorry its a bit longer than I intended, but thanks
    > for your patience and your critiques!
    >
    >
    > It was misting heavily(I wanted you to see how adverbs you use - ly)[b(]isn't that rain, just say it was misting)[/b] outside the glimmering
    > walls of the casino, but the gray clouds(I don't think you need to tell us about the gray clouds of moisture, it seems over written to me) of
    > moisture didn’t stop the crowds that continued
    > to pour in and out of the Pandora. The casino was
    > a massiveI would lose the word massive monument to luxury, windowed and paneled
    > in brilliant shades of platinum with jet-black
    > accents. Blue and violent(do you mean violet?) lights artistically(artistically seems like too much) lit
    > the enormous twenty-story structure and were then
    > reflected in the enormous pools laid around the
    > base. The lights tinged the mist violetI think it would be better to say The lights tinged the mist and gave.... and gave
    > the entire night sky outside of the PandoraWe know the mist is outside the Pandora, don't tell us this) an
    > almost(I would lose almost) ethereal aura. In the plaza immediately(ly)(I don't feel like you need immediately)
    > outside the grand bronze doors was a pedestal upon
    > which was a kneeling statue of Pandora herself(don't need the word herself)
    > opening a chest full of golden poker chips.
    > Playful figures representing Good Fortune, Luck,
    > and Wealth danced out of the chest, grinning at
    > pedestrians with impish smiles.
    >
    > Another figure was also sitting on the pedestal,
    > crouched against Pandora. He didn’t share the
    > smiles of the imps ordo you mean "to those walking by"?) those walking by; in fact,
    > his head was hidden by the hood of his torn and
    > stained sweater. His clothes were dark, but they
    > were so ragged and patched that it was impossible
    > to tell what the original colors actually(ly)(Don't need actually. How about "what the colors once were") were.
    > The figure was nearly(ly)(lose nearly) as still as the statues,
    > although he shifted once in a while to better
    > escape the mist that was lightlyly) drizzling on his
    > head. On one such occasion, a small pool of water
    > that had collected in Pandora’s locks spilled
    > over and poured directly(ly) on him. The figure threw
    > off his hood in annoyance, revealing him to be a
    > young boy in his early teens. His dark hair was
    > now matted down with moisture that uncomfortably(another word ending in ly)
    > ran down his face and down(don't need the word down again) the collar of his
    > t-shirt. The pedestrians hurrying past hardly(another ly) gave
    > him a second glance - it was not uncommon to see
    > the very poor or out-of-luck hanging around the
    > palaces of wealth on the Strip - but a few of
    > those who looked back for a moment were unnerved
    > at how the boy’s staring eyes seemed to reflect
    > the blue-violet lights of the Pandora.
    >
    > The boy shifted again and followed the passing
    > crowd with quick glances. He seemed to be content
    > to simply(ly - don't need the word simply) wait, trusting that in time he would
    > receive some reward for his patience. He didnt’(didn't)
    > have to wait much longer. His gaze lit upon
    > another figure hurrying through the crowd,
    > carrying a plastic bag under his arm. This boy was
    > much taller and relatively(ly again) older; he at least had
    > grown a small beard and moved with a grace unusual
    > for someone with his broad shoulders and long
    > legs. He covered the distance across the plaza
    > much more quicklyly again - much quicker than than his casual pace suggested
    > until he was only a few yards from the statue of
    > Pandora. There he stopped, wiped blonde hair out
    > of his eyes, and waited.
    >
    > The boy on the statue tried to shake off the water
    > that had collected on his jacket, gave it up as a
    > lost cause, and stood up on the pedestal. He was
    > much thinner than the other boy but hardlyly - don't need this word) lacked
    > energy in his movements. He stretched out his
    > cramped muscles and with one casual step forward
    > dropped from the pedestal and landed crouched on
    > the red-bricked plaza. His eyes were blue now.
    >
    > “Took you long enough,” he told his companion.
    >
    >
    > The older boy eyed him unsmiling. “You didn’t
    > make things easy. When I said wait by the casino,
    > I didn’t mean on top of the damn statue where
    > anyone could see you. I had to circle the entire
    > block twice to make sure that no one was watching
    > either of us.”
    >
    > The younger boy smiled at him. “You mean you
    > actually had to look? Sounds like you’re losing
    > your touch.”
    >
    > “Don’t make jokes about this, Joey,” said
    > his companion. “You’re being reckless. Again.
    > We can hardly(ly - "We can't risk being seen) risk being seen in the open in
    > Vegas, there are so many eyes. And a lot of them
    > are eyes like mine, and you know that makes things
    > even more difficult for me.”
    >
    > Joey shook his head. “You worry too much. Your
    > relatives are out there looking for corporate
    > corruption and traitors and creepily(ly again) watching
    > people they’ve got the hots for take showers.
    > They aren’t watching two bums among the hundreds
    > on the Strip alone. So what did you bring? Steak?
    > Lobster? Or-” he inhaled the smells coming from
    > the plastic bag, “a ham sandwich on rye with
    > cheddar cheese and onions?” Your dialogue seems very natural
    >
    > The older boy sighed and reached into the bag,
    > taking out the exact sandwich that Joey had
    > described. “You cheated,” he accused. Joey
    > smiled and began wolfing the sandwich down. The
    > other boy withdrew an identical sandwich. “You
    > know, this would have been a lot easier if you had
    > just made us food.”
    >
    > “You know I can’t cook. I can’t even boil
    > water without burning it,” said Joey.
    >
    > “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”
    >
    >
    > For the first time, Joey looked agitated. “So
    > we’re cold and hungry. We’re getting by this
    > way, without any tricks. You know how I feel about
    > that sort of thing. I’d rather not do anything
    > unless we need too. If we were starving, it’d be
    > a different story. But we’re not.” He took
    > another large bite, melted cheese hanging from his
    > mouth.
    >
    > His friend looked away. “That’s disgusting.”
    >
    >
    > Joey gestured extravegentlyly again) , talking through his
    > full mouth. “You know Ollie, you are more than
    > welcome to book a reservation at Le Cirque for
    > caviar and cocktails. Let me know how that goes
    > for you.”
    >
    > The older boy grimaced and silently(don't really need silently - if grimaces and gnaws at his sandwich, then speaks) gnawed at his
    > sandwich. “Don’t call me Ollie,” he
    > muttered.
    >
    > The grin on his young companion grew wider. “Oh,
    > sorry Ol-i-ver,” he said. “St. Patrick,
    > you’ve been eighteen for three days and you’re
    > already severing every tie with childhood. I’m
    > almost ashamed of you.”
    >
    > Oliver smiled for the first time. “You’re one
    > to talk, Ptolemy Josephus.”
    >
    > Joey’s smile dropped. “Oliver it is then. As
    > long as you never mention that again within
    > hearing distance of another human being.”
    >
    > “Fine then. Joey.”
    >
    > A great shout echoed from the bronze doors of the
    > Pandora, and more shouts and cheers poured out as
    > even outside on the steps people began to applaud.
    > Someone had apparently won a very big jackpot on
    > the slots or the card tables. Joey glanced up at
    > the massive structure, admiration etched across
    > his face. Oliver mirrored his gaze.
    >
    > “Why did you even bring us here?” he asked.
    > “Did you just want to see it? I mean, I know its
    > been all over the news in the past month, even
    > before we...before we left.” He faced Joey
    > directly, forcing the younger boy to look down
    > from the dancing lights and directly at him.
    > “But we can’t go inside. You know that. I came
    > to Vegas with you because I agreed that it was a
    > good place to hide in plain sight. But risking it
    > by coming here, to the heart of everything, was
    > completely reckless.” He eyed the statue of
    > Pandora with distaste. “Can we please leave now?
    > This all makes me sick actually. It reeks
    > of...of...”
    >
    > “Of home, yeah,” said Joey. “But no, I
    > didn’t just want to see it. We’re going to
    > live here, until we figure out where we’re
    > headed next.”
    >
    > Oliver snorted. “Don’t mess with me.” Joey
    > smiled again and finished his sandwich. He began
    > walking towards the bronze doors.
    >
    > Oliver’s face grew stoney. He ran a couple of
    > steps to catch up with his headstrong companion
    > and grabbed his shoulders. Spinning him around he
    > shook him slightly.
    >
    > “Stop this now, Joey! Don’t be stupid! We
    > can’t afford to breathe the air in that place,
    > and I will not let you make a scene to get us in.
    > Don’t even try it. We’re turning around and
    > finding a quiet place to bunk. Now.”
    >
    > Joey shoved Oliver’s hands from his shoulders.
    > “I never suggested making a scene,” he said.
    > “I intend to pay for our room like a law-abiding
    > citizen.”
    > Reaching into his sweater pocket, he pulled out a
    > thick slab of bills.
    >
    > Oliver’s eyes grew wide. “Where did you get
    > that?” he asked quietly.
    >
    > Joey sneered. “I didn’t make it, if that’s
    > what you’re suggesting.”
    >
    > Oliver took Joey’s shoulders again. “I just
    > scrounged for fallen change for three hours to buy
    > us a couple of grocery store sandwiches and now
    > you pull out, what, two grand? You can’t hold
    > out on me like this, Joey. If we’re going to do
    > this, we’re going to have to trust each
    > other.”
    >
    > Joey shuffled his feet. “I do trust you, and
    > when you went off to get the sandwiches I didn’t
    > have any of this. I wasn’t on the statue the
    > whole time. I found people in the square who had
    > more cash than they would ever miss and, you know,
    > lifted here and there.
    >
    > “You stole it then,” said Oliver.
    >
    > Joey’s eyes grew steely gray. “We needed it
    > more than any of them did.”
    >
    > “You don’t know that.” Oliver shook his
    > head. “Joey, I know that you were raised to
    > think like this, but I’m trying to get you to
    > understand. If we want to be different than the
    > others, we have to stop acting like them.”
    >
    > Joey’s eyes returned to their normal blue.
    > “Okay fine. No more picking pockets if it will
    > make you feel better.” He gestured towards the
    > bronze doors. “Now can we go inside?
    >
    > Oliver shook his head. “How do you think it will
    > look when two kids walk into the Pandora and throw
    > down a couple thousand bucks and ask for a room?
    > The Pandora is not the place to pull a stunt like
    > that. You know what it’s like in there.”
    >
    > Joey nodded, looking up at the casino again.
    > “Yeah. Security up to the shingles and beyond.
    > Which makes sense, since it is the brainchild of
    > Brandon Nuo, creepy billionaire extraordinare.”
    > He looked back at his companion. “But I didn’t
    > just take us here for kicks, Oliver. The Pandora
    > is the one place in Vegas - the only place - that
    > the GB doesn’t have its fat little fingers stuck
    > in.”
    >
    > “How can you possibly know that?” asked
    > Oliver. “This is the one place they’d be dying
    > to have a hand in.”
    >
    > “Oh they are,” said Joey. “You said it
    > yourself, everyone was talking about it even
    > before we left. But no joy for the GB in the
    > Pandora. Not yet.”
    > Oliver looked doubtful. Joey eyed him.
    >
    > “See for yourself. Seriously, take a look.
    > You’ll see what I mean."
    >
    > Oliver sighed and closed his eyes. A sudden change
    > came over his formerly casual stance. His muscles
    > locked, his shoulders tensed up. His breathing
    > came in heavy, labored gasps. Even the mist seemed
    > to draw in around him, swirling around his feet
    > and hands. Joey shuddered involuntarily.
    > Oliver's eyes snapped open. They were as misted as
    > the dark sky above them.
    >
    > Slowly, his shoulders began to relax, followed by
    > the rest of his body. His eyes cleared, revealing
    > nothing of what he might have seen. He looked at
    > Joey. Bemusement was etched on his face.
    >
    > “You’re right,” he said. “The GB has got
    > no hold in there. They’ve got spies in there of
    > course, a couple dozen on the staff alone, but
    > they’re all very angry, and desperate. Nuo must
    > have some pretty big connections to be keeping the
    > GB out like this.”
    >
    > Joey shrugged. “I doubt Nuo even knows about the
    > GB. His personal assistant, maybe. Rumor has it
    > Nuo is terrified of his own Board of Investors,
    > and he’s taking every precaution to keep them
    > from taking over. Only thing is, he’s hindering
    > the GB while he’s at it.”
    >
    > Oliver laughed. “Pretty paranoid for a man who
    > made billions gambling. Good for him I say.”
    >
    > Joey nodded. “So here’s the plan, I think. We
    > go in there, hit a blackjack or poker table, make
    > more more of this -” he waved the wad of bills,
    > “then get some decent clothes and food and
    > settle in. Easy, simple, lucrative.”
    >
    > “Yes, but I don’t play poker or blackjack,”
    > said Oliver.
    >
    > Joey rolled his eyes. “What do you think I did
    > at the palace all day between orders from the
    > Council? Crochet? Mike taught me a few things
    > about cards. And your dad taught me about cheating
    > - which I will of course not do. Unless I am
    > losing.” He moved towards the doors again.
    > “Well, I’m glad we settled this. Now will you
    > come inside?”
    >
    > Oliver brushed the water out of his hair.
    > “You’re forgetting one thing, card shark,”
    > he said. “You’re fourteen. You have to be
    > twenty-one to play in the casinos, and there’s
    > no way your going to pass, even with those phony
    > IDs you whipped up.
    >
    > “Meh, that’s not a problem here,” said Joey.
    > “At the Pandora, minors can play at the tables
    > or the slots as long as they are accompanied by
    > someone eighteen or above.”
    >
    > Oliver’s eyes narrowed. “That’s not a
    > rule,” he said.
    >
    > Joey’s grin matched the imps on the statue of
    > Pandora. “It is now.”
    >
    > With that, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and
    > trotted towards the warmth and light of the
    > Pandora. He didn’t even look behind to see if
    > his friend was following.
    >
    > “I’m going to regret so much about tonight,”
    > muttered Oliver as he hurried after his impetuous
    > friend. Behind him, the golden statue of Pandora
    > seemed to smile even more widely as her eyes
    > reflected the blue-violet lights of the casino.


    I read the first couple of paragraphs and some of the dialogue. The dialogue is natural and flowed well. I do agree with some of the others that the first paragraph seems over written - I only recognize this because I do it too. I also noticed a lot words ending in ly. I only point them out because, again, I do it too. Sometimes I feel like it's a way to be a lazy writer and tell the reader what you want them know, frantically, quickly, loudly. Instead of showing the reader through the characters actions. I certainly don't know much about the writing process so please know I'm just telling what I feel when I read it. I think Cur's idea about beginning with the boy crouching by the statue is a good one. I enjoyed it thought!
    Amy



  2. #12
    Amy Lou
    Guest

    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    Good editing leslee! It reads clear and strong.

  3. #13
    Member
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    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    Oisin, I read the first 6-7 paragraphs and thought it well-written, if a tad adverb/adjective-heavy. But that's secondary, easily fixed.

    The key point: Voice. The voice is strong, confident. It makes me trust the narrator. You strike a nice balance between narrative distance and closeness. I feel the narrator confiding in me [the reader], making me an accomplice, a participant, without the narrator being overly familiar or presuming too much. This is difficult, to entice the reader into a collaboration, a psychological/emotional participation in the unfolding story.

    Seems you have a grip on some subtle aspects of the narrative art that take most aspiring writers much practice to develop. Have you been writing long?

    Congrats on a nice style!

  4. #14
    Senior Member
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    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    "Good editing leslee! It reads clear and strong."

    Thank you, Amy.

  5. #15
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    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    You've all been way to patient with me, and I can only apologize again for the long post and promise my next will be shorter. I love the diversity of the comments, some say this, others say try that, and it's given me much to think about. Thanks much everyone?

    If I can ask, what's considered the general time to wait between posts? I have another very different one that I'd love to have critiqued but I don't want to give the impression that I'm cluttering up the board.

    Thanks everyone!

  6. #16
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    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    Not at all. Besides my thesis paper for my undergraduate I mean. This is the first piece of fiction I've ever tried. Thank you for the suggestions!

  7. #17
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    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    It was very useful, thanks. I'm sure that, like many beginning writers, I feel that I have to explain everything in triplicate to my reader because I don't trust their imagination to do the work for them. And yes, I am a beginner. This is the first bit of fiction I've attempted.

  8. #18
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    Re: Part of the First Chapter...With Paragraph Breaks!

    You can post new stuff any time you like, just start a new thread.

    And when you reply to the comments you've received, it's good to direct that to the person you're talking to, or all the replies sort of run together.

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