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  1. #1
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    okay, having a go at show-don't-tell, with a different opening

    The body on the slab was not that of Alec Darrow. Surely, it was someone else. Some other poor soul who had found themselves on the business end of a gun. No, Alec had been alive earlier that morning, as his wife Evelyn had kissed him goodbye on her way out the door. His eyes had been their usual bright blue, intent and mischievous. A familiar smile had decorated his face like a congenial garland. His strong hands had exuded warmth as they grazed across her belly earlier that morning, before either of them had crawled out of bed to face the day. But now, his eyes were vacant and closed. Closed to a world that no longer counted him amongst its living. And, as Evelyn took his hand in hers, she recoiled at their cool and clamminess. It was not until she looked behind his left ear and saw the scar he'd carried since a biking accident years before, that she knew for sure it was him. And that no amount of denial could make that any less of a reality.

    Debating between starting my story here or the day of Alec's burial. Knowing some who have lost spouses, they have said that the day their spouse was buried was the day it really hit them. That it wasn't a dream, that the deceased was NOT coming back, etc. I might work on that tomorrow after I have gotten some sleep and then post another. But please let me know what you think. I'm jumping back in the writing saddle after a relatively lengthy absence so I need to get these literary muscles a-workin' again.

    Oh -- one more thing. Someone had asked me in a PM what I was going for as far as target audience. I would say i would like for my target audience to be people who would pick anything from Hemingway to Picoult to Bohjalian to Stowe to Bronte. I have selections from all but Hemingway in my library here at home. Had a bad experience with Hemingway in middle school (bad grade on test on excerpt in reading book), so I have been remiss to read him since. But maybe I should just be the "growed-up" that I am and crack one open anyway.

    Alright. Bedtime calls. 'Night all!!



  2. #2
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    Jennifer, hi. Sorry, but this is still all telling. I'm not sure of any action (that would make showing easier) going on, but let me make a small change to your beginning. It might be easier to understand the difference.


    No, Evelyn thought. That body on the slab (steel cart?) is not Alec's. It's some other poor soul's. His arm dangled lifelessly from the cart. The hand had gone blue. The flesh around his ring, the same wedding ring she'd slipped onto his finger three years before, was puffy and swollen. She took his hand in hers and recoiled from the cold feel of his flesh. He'd been alive only hours before, it just wasn't possible.

    "Are you okay, Mrs. Jones?" the attendant's voice broke her through the fog. "Do you need to sit down?"


    Okay. Hope you don't mind the liberties I took. It's always easier to show if you have more than one character in the scene; it keeps you from becoming so introspective. However, I don't write or read literature, so I may be full of it lol. Good luck!!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Jennifer, you think your book will appeal to readers all the way from Hemingway to Bronte? The answer is no, it won't. You're writing a contemporary fiction, so there's no way you can count your book in the genre as "Wuthering Heights."

    People who enjoy Hemingway or Bronte are not your target audience. Go check out the genre you are aiming for at a bookstore. See which authors write those books, because those are the ones you will be competing against for sales.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Yeah, this is the narrator speaking from the narrator's POV. You want Evelyn's POV. What really hurts this is the empty verbs. WHAT you say is not too bad, but HOW you say it is pretty awful.

    As much as possible use simple past or present tense, active voice. As much as possible, eliminate the following verbs:

    1. Any variant of the verb “to be” (be, been, being, am, are, is, was, were)

    2. Any variant of the following verbs:
    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

    Read it when I apply those rules, change the POV, and chop your initial effort by 40%. Tell me how you think it reads, better or worse, more poignant or not:

    It was not Alec on the slab. Surely, someone else, some other poor soul found themselves on the business end of a gun. No, just that morning, she kissed Alec goodbye…his eyes their usual bright blue, intent and mischievous, and a familiar smile decorating his face like a congenial garland. His strong hands warmly caressed her belly earlier that morning, before either of them crawled out of bed. But now, his eyes were closed. She touched his hand and recoiled at the cool clamminess. The scar behind his left ear from a biking accident years before brought the stabbing reality to her soul…and no amount of denial could blunt it.

  5. #5
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    Damn, John! Why didn't I think of that?

    I definitely think this adds a lot more depth to it. Really puts me, the reader, in Evelyn's shoes. Which is definitely what I want.

    Thank you for your input!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lea Zalas View Post
    Jennifer, you think your book will appeal to readers all the way from Hemingway to Bronte? The answer is no, it won't. You're writing a contemporary fiction, so there's no way you can count your book in the genre as "Wuthering Heights."

    People who enjoy Hemingway or Bronte are not your target audience. Go check out the genre you are aiming for at a bookstore. See which authors write those books, because those are the ones you will be competing against for sales.
    Perhaps I mistyped. Yes, my aim is contemporary fiction. That's what I like, but I also like some of the classics. It was late when I typed that so maybe I should have stopped while I was ahead. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  7. #7
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    Hi Jennifer, I do like the description of congenial garland. It's quite unique. Since I am not that experienced in 3rd person view, do think it's good. Is it a crime or horror story? Sounds like he will become an undead?

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