I think the voice is OK, but it sure wasn't rural southern. If Tinman was shooting for rural southern, then the voice stinks on ice, lol.
I didn't see any place where the kid sounds like a 35-year-old man. I thought a kid would probably use the word "twitch" instead of "spasm", but other than that, I thought it was OK. Old muscles spasm; young muscles twitch, lol.
I understood what was happening. I understood that something happened to the mother, and that this boy and his father had probably been through something pretty bad that was in the papers, and the biker guy had heard or read something about it. No real problems I could see in that regard. I suppose it could be a teensy clearer, but it could just as easily stand as is.
The biggest problems are the verbs and how the sentences are worded. Have you seen my list of empty verbs to avoid as much as possible, Tinman?
If a person has stomach problems, the last thing he wants to eat are dairy products, which are much harder to digest than meat or vegetables. So I'd replace the cheese sandwich with something like chicken broth or cream of wheat or oatmeal or something like that. Something that goes down easy and doesn't require near the effort to digest. If I'm trying not to puke, I'm NOT eating cheese.
Last edited by John Oberon; 05-01-2012 at 04:12 AM.
John. Thanks again.
No, I wasn't shooting for rural southern. The POV is just a bright 14-year-old who lives in a small town. And no, I haven't seen your list of weak verbs. Are they on here somewhere?
Eliminate the following verbs as much as possible. It will more often than not improve writing. I call them "empty verbs" because they lose nearly all meaning through overuse and simply clutter writing. So if you see any of these verbs, it's a red flag.
1. Any variant of the verb “to be” (be, been, being, am, are, is, was, were)
2. Any variant of the following verbs. Writers may utilize some of these verbs to good effect as nouns or adjectives, or as verbs with a meaning different than ordinary. Ex: The boy suffers deep want; He is a man on the take (or make or go, but careful with idioms); His use of her shows glaringly on her face.
to have - have, having, has, had
to do - do, doing, done, did
to take - take, taking, taken, took
to make - make, making, made
to go - go, goes, going, gone, went
to see - see, seeing, seen, saw
to look - look, looking, looked
to use - use, used, using
to get - get, got, getting, gotten
to keep - keep, keeping, kept
to seem – seem, seeming, seemed
to want - want, wanted, wanting
Any verb ending in “ing”.
Caution with the following:
1. “will”, “should”, “could”, “would”, and the helping verb “can”.
2. Any noun, adjective, adverb, or variant of the same word used more than twice on one page (articles, pronouns, conjunctions, and prepositions excepted).
3. The following words and phrases:
the fact that
in my opinion
in order to
4. Superlative adverbs and adjectives like "totally", "completely", "absolutely", "always", "never", "best", "most", "highest", "lowest", etc.
1. As much as possible, use only simple present tense (he sits, they write) or simple past tense (he sat, they wrote).
2. Use active voice, not passive voice, unless you want to emphasize either the passivity of the subject or the unintentionality of the act. Ex: The car hit the man. (active), The man was hit by the car. (passive
These two rules alone enhance writing immeasurably. Implement them consistently.
Thereya go. If you see any of these things in your writing, try to correct them. At first, it's difficult to think of how to re-write, but just a few days of practice, and you're able to determine quickly things that should change and things that shouldn't. I've done it for so long, that I literally edit as I write.
I think your voice is great for a bright 14-year-old boy. You just have a lot of clutter. I shouldn't be able to remove 25% of your words and say the same thing. I try to write so that any change changes the meaning noticeably.
Last edited by John Oberon; 05-01-2012 at 12:30 PM.
Okay. Thanks John. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, post an edited version, and re-post your signs of weak writing. I removed many of the things you suggested; think I left in a couple of sentences and 1 dialogue tag you didn't like lol. But overall I think your version read much better. Thanks again.
I just noticed I posted this in the Craft room instead of the Critique room. Sorry.
Well, the purpose of my posts is not to show anyone how a piece should be written, but to show them some ways a piece can be improved and written more succinctly and concisely. I don't expect anyone to appropriate my edits, but to use them as a springboard for improvement. There's a million ways to write something, but only one way that fits you. I think I have good experience and advice to impart, but in the end, it boils down to this: to each his own.
Originally Posted by The Tinman
Originally Posted by John Oberon
Originally Posted by The Tinman