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Author Topic: The Way
snapper
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Here is a one k thing I wrote in an hour. Interested what everyone thinks of the opening


They made up their mind and started packing.
“Should we bring our medicine?” Helen asked
John smiled at her. It was the first time in a month his wife was able to maintain a coherent conversation. She used to fade in and out, now moments of clarity were rare jewels he treasured. Equally as rare was his shaking had stopped. It was as if their decision had cured them.
“Let’s leave it behind,” he said. “It hasn’t been working all that well anyway.”
They put their single suitcase in the backseat of their 15-year old Buick and left before the sun came up. John drove south, sticking to the costal highway and off the freeway. He saw Helen looking up at the mountains. The glow of the rising sun


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LDWriter2
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I'm curious. So I would read on but I think a bit of color would be good. And was it cool etc?

Should there be a -ing word in the First sentence?

But it's simple and to the point which is good.


Yes, I know it's short which is why I said a bit of color. And a bit of the five senses would help I think. If you can get a couple in other than hearing and sight.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited July 02, 2011).]


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axeminister
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Hey Frank,
Here's some thoughts.

I don't believe -They made up their mind- is grammatically correct.

You have three uses of the word -it-. The first one should change because it refers to nothing. The second two refer to the medicine but after a break that's just long enough for me to have to go back and question what -it- was referring to.

You could remove the first dialog and make it an active scene.

-They put their single suitcase...- Telling again. I mean, I can see it, but it's past tense as if it already happened. The scene is a still photograph in my mind. Can you make it a moving scene?

Is -15 yr old- significant? With only 1k words, each fact should be necessary, or gone. (This may be too harsh, as this could be in for flavor, but I think flavor comes from -the glow of the rising sun-. The Glow isn't technically necessary either, but you are painting a picture, creating a scene, so it's a nice visual, while 15 yr old is simply an uninteresting fact.)

Lastly, -He saw Helen looking- is passive and tell-y. Make it active and emotional.

I don't know why they're leaving. But am willing to keep reading to find out. There's enough character and curiosity/hook for me to go on.

Remember, nothing above is fact. Just my opinion meant to get your creative mind working. Hopefully something was helpful.

Axe

[This message has been edited by axeminister (edited July 06, 2011).]


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Tiergan
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My rock didnt hit you in the head did it?

Alright on to the first 13.

Simple and interesting.

I had 2 suggestions.

I would suggest showing the first line, versus telling it, more impact and could be done fairly easily.

"So we're leaving?"
John nodded. "Yeah." He tossed the suitcase on the bed. "I guess we are."
"Should we bring out medicine?"....

Alright not great, but you probably get what I am trying to say.

My other thought, was, the line of Equally as rare, was having him hold his hand out. It just seemed a way of showing motion in the story, adding a little showing.

Ex.Equally as rare--he held his hand out for confirmation--his shaking had stopped.

Something along that line.

Good luck.


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snapper
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Thank you gentlemen.

quote:
Should there be a -ing word in the First sentence?

I would agree with you and Tiergan 99% of the time on this but there is a very good reason why I choose to write the first line that way. There is a relationship between the title and it. I was hoping someone would have pieced it together, and more hopefully, an editor will as well.

Nevertheless, this opening could use some improvements.


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LDWriter2
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I can see the connection now that you mentioned but at the same time I don't feel like it's very strong.
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WolfCreature
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Snapper,

I admire that you can crank out 1k in an hour (the most I've ever been able to manage is 250 words) However...

> They made up their mind and started packing.
Unless this couple is a hermaphroditic Siamese twin joined at the head, then I think they would have made up their minds.

> Helen asked
John smiled at her.
How about adding either a comma or and >and< after asked.

> It was the first time in a month his wife was able to maintain a coherent conversation.
Try getting rid of these fuzzy was-ies: For the first time in a month his wife could maintain a coherent conversation.

> She used to fade in and out, now moments of clarity were rare jewels he treasured.
Get rid of that passive >were<. How about: She used fade in and out and he treasured like rare jewels her moments of clarity.

Equally as rare was his shaking had stopped.
Just cut >was<: Equally as rare, his shaking had stopped.

> John drove south, sticking to the costal highway
costal, n. pertaining to the ribs or the upper sides of the body: eg. costal nerves. So these Siamese hermaphroditic twins are small enough to travel on someone's upper body. And this body also has freeway that they decided not to take. Interesting.

Well, anyone can see the road that they walk on is paved in gold...

- WolfCreature

........../\,,,,,,,/\
..........’’\,,,,,,/’’
.........“””9,,,9“”"
.........“””\,,,,/”””
............””(..)””
............V’’’’’’V
.............^,,,,^


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axeminister
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Wow, I totally read it as coastal. That's not like me to miss that. In my own writing, sure, but not during a crit. Nice catch Wolf.

I'm totally missing the -ing thing in the first sentence. Does it have to do with -their mind- ? If you're saying you wrote the sentence very intentionally, and it's not like you to make such a mistake in the first sentence, then what are you getting at?

(I'm asking this question with one eyebrow raised.) For an example, please see the 19.5 second marker of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0KvbSqfd28

Axe


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snapper
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You never miss a thing, do you wolfie? Even got the reference.

Thanks everyone. See all the mistakes you can make in an hour?


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LDWriter2
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Hmm, I missed the was-s etc. and misspellings too.

Then again passive sentence usually do not bother me like they seem to do a lot of readers. I'm working on that in my writing though.



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tchernabyelo
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"Was" or "were" are simple past tense. They are not inherently passive constructions - they will occur in passive constructions but only if the past tense is being used.

"They were walking" is not passive.
"They were hit by a car" is passive ("A car hit them" is the active equivalent. "They are hit by a car" is still passive, just in the present tense, so no occurence of "were").


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LDWriter2
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tchernabyelo

"They were walking" sounds passive with both the were and the -ing word or it sounds like the what passes for passive in the do not do list. Or maybe it sounds too much like tell. but it both boils down to don't use either word if you can keep from using them.


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axeminister
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Louis,

It might have to do with what comes next also.

They were walking toward the spacecraft when an alien emerged and stepped on them.

They were walking, but had no destination in mind. It felt nice to walk.

I've recently begun to substitute -ed words for -ing words in my stuff and I swear that's making it better.

Axe


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H.G.Galt
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I think cars are good "markers" with which to characterize. Instead of telling us the car is "a 15 year old Buick", maybe you could describe what a 15 year old Buick looks like. If it's been stored on the coast for years, there's likely to be rust spots, bubbled up areas of corrosion from the salt water.

-Trey


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