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Author Topic: novel: Abraxus
waterchaser
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The world swam in waves of discombobulated light, but I was conscious. I struggled to get to my feet, finding the fender of the sedan almost accidently. I looked around. I had been bamboozled before but this was like being awake at my own personal worst. Nothing held still, nothing was fixed, but I focused as hard as I could for Sarah’s sake.
I saw him sitting on her. I saw him move jerkily and I knew what he had done. I rushed him, and, in a blind rage, tackled him off her limp form. The phrase 'punch drunk' comes to mind when I think about this, but that doesn’t give justice to the panicked brutality with which I leveled from my soul each blow upon his smooth brow. I broke his crown and maxillary before I think he had a chance to react. To say he didn’t see it coming


[This message has been edited by waterchaser (edited September 02, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by waterchaser (edited September 02, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited September 03, 2009).]


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MAP
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Hi Waterchaser

This is a powerful begining, but you have some lines of commentary disrupt the action in this scene and diffuse the tension. I suggest cutting some lines and seeing if it reads better.

I think everything bolded should be cut.

quote:
The world swam in waves of discombobulated(1) light, but I was conscious. I struggled to get to my feet, finding the fender of the sedan almost accidently. I looked around. I had been bamboozled before but this was like being awake at my own personal worst.(2) Nothing held still, nothing was fixed, but I focused as hard as I could for Sarah’s sake.
I saw him sitting on her. I saw him move jerkily and I knew what he had done. I rushed him, and, in a blind rage, tackled him off her limp form. The phrase 'punch drunk' comes to mind when I think about this, but that doesn’t give justice to(3) the panicked brutality with which I leveled from my soul each blow upon his smooth brow. I broke his crown and maxillary before I think he had a chance to react. To say he didn’t see it coming is an understatement,(4) and in a moment, I was standing over him, or swaying, trying to contain myself.

1. I don't think discombobulated adds much here. The feeling of confusion is clearly shown in "the world swam in waves..."

2. I think the fact the he has been decieved isn't important right now. It can be explained later when he has realized what he has done.

3. Obviously this part will need to be reworded to make sense if you remove the portion that I suggested. I like the end of this sentence, but the begining part doesn't flow well.

4. The guy's surprise at the attack was effectively shown in the previous sentence.

Other than those suggestions, I find this very interesting.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited September 03, 2009).]


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jezzahardin
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quote:
The world swam in waves of discombobulated light, but I was conscious. I struggled to get to my feet, finding the fender of the sedan almost accidently. I looked around. I had been bamboozled before but this was like being awake at my own personal worst. Nothing held still, nothing was fixed, but I focused as hard as I could for Sarah’s sake.
I saw him sitting on her. I saw him move jerkily and I knew what he had done. I rushed him, and, in a blind rage, tackled him off her limp form. The phrase 'punch drunk' comes to mind when I think about this, but that doesn’t give justice to the panicked brutality with which I leveled from my soul each blow upon his smooth brow. I broke his crown and maxillary before I think he had a chance to react. To say he didn’t see it coming is an understatement, and in a moment, I was standing over him, or swaying, trying to contain myself.

I like the sense of conflict right from the beginning, and so many mysteries are introduced that I do want to read more, just to find out the who, what, and why.

Getting specific, I feel the wording needs to be tightened up.

quote:
The world swam in waves of discombobulated light, but I was conscious.

This sentence has two water references in it, and while I appreciate the metaphor, I, as the reader, cannot accurately interpret the action with this in place. This disconnect makes me pause and consider stopping.
Also, telling the reader in first person that the perspective character is conscious is off-putting. Maybe because it's telling, not showing. As an alternative, perhaps the perspective character could wish that current events were a dream, but then know that they are, in fact, not.

quote:
I struggled to get to my feet, finding the fender of the sedan almost accidently.

First half of the sentence is great. The second half begins using the set, but without giving me a mental picture of it. This makes me, the reader, unable to picture the action, and therefore unable to relate to the perspective character. Either introduce the set in such a way that I can picture it, or pre-introduce it and refer back to it in the action.
Also, I cannot picture how someone can find something almost accidentally. Either the character intended to find it, or they didn't. Unless I'm misunderstanding, which is possible.

quote:
discombobulated...bamboozled

These two words in close proximity don't work for me. They have no immediate mental picture, are not part of a character's distinctive voice, and do not convey instant information to the reader about the setting. To me, that means better words can be chosen.

quote:
Nothing held still, nothing was fixed...

Again, this references a setting of which I have no mental picture. Tell me that the wet cement swam in the characters vision, or the street lamps, or the lights in windows of the neighboring houses. But nothing holding still, and nothing being fixed, when I have no idea as to the characters current plight, leaves me, the reader, with no mental picture, and again, no way to relate.

quote:
I saw him sitting on her. I saw him move jerkily and I knew what he had done.

There are circumstances where the first sentence would work, but since we the reader have no idea who him is or what he looks like, and also that Sarah/her is only a name to us, no picture comes to mind. Have her dark hair splayed out under his fat legs, or her broken wrist at an odd angle under the thin bald man's jerky silhouette.
Also, letting the perspective character know something so early on (what he had done) and not telling me, the reader, separates me emotionally from the perspective character and the action at hand.

quote:
...but that doesn’t give justice to the panicked brutality with which I leveled from my soul each blow upon his smooth brow.

This sentence has important information, but could be structured more clearly. As it is, the placement of the action loses the weight of what is really happening: blind brutality.
I would consider breaking it up into something like.
"...but that doesn't give justice to the panicked brutality. I levelled each blow from my soul upon his smooth brow."
But even still, it sounds as though some very heartfelt violence is being done, and more intimacy could make me more attached.
"I counted each thrown punch aloud, one for each of the ways he had hurt Sarah." Just get me, the reader, in there, throwing those punches with the perspective character.

So these are my initial thoughts. Again, I would read on, as I want to know how this character and Sarah find themselves in so violent a situation. But the actual words stopped me in a few places.

Best,
Jez


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nathanpence
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Discombobulated? Bamboozled? Really? Those are good words for a 60's Batman TV episode but they don't really fit with the grit of the scene. I mean if you are bamboozled, are you going to search your thesaurus for the word bamboozled or just say "knocked stupid" or "dazed"?

You used punch drunk as a descriptor but it really doesn't mean what you have it meaning in this context. Old boxers who have been hit so many times that they always sound drunk and walk a little wobbly are punch drunk. It refers to the brain damage from repeated blows to the head the boxers recieved.

You broke his maxillary? That's the upper jaw, which aside from having to brush up on my anatomy to find is also very hard to do without breaking other softer things first, the nose, cheek bonnes (Your hand would break before that though), The maxillary is pretty well protected. You also broke his crown, which is the top of his skull, the single hardest spot on the human anatomy. Fighters actually drop their heads to take punches their because it will do so much damage to their opponent's hands. One punch is often enough to break the bones in the hand if it connects with the crown. If you broke his crown, you had a hammer.

At the end you should know if you were standing over him or swaying, or you should deliberately say you don't remember but that you can picture looking down on him through a haze or some such nonsense, I think.

Obviously these are all just my opinions but I think this needs some work. Get your theme for the scene. Largely it seems pretty gritty and "real" so go with that if that's what you are after, but I think each word needs to fit in with the theme. The anatomical references pulled me way out as did the words I mentioned earlier, and I think you can do better. I more shocked by "mashed his head to a bloody pulp" than by "I broke his orbital bone and his zygomatic bone."

Just my two cents, which with sales tax, comes to three cents... argh...

[This message has been edited by nathanpence (edited September 03, 2009).]


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SavantIdiot
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The world swam in waves of discombobulated light, but I was conscious.(If you love discombobulated here - and how often do we get to use it? - consider dropping the 'but..conscious'. He is conscious, if woozy.) I struggled to get to my feet, finding the fender of the sedan almost accidently. (accidentally, I think) I looked around. I had been bamboozled (I always think this means 'swindled'; no?) before but this was like being awake at my own personal worst. Nothing held still, nothing was fixed, but I focused as hard as I could for Sarah’s sake.
I saw him sitting on her. I saw him move jerkily and I knew what he had done. I rushed him, and, in a blind rage, tackled him off her limp form. The phrase 'punch drunk' comes to mind when I think about this, but that doesn’t give justice to the panicked brutality with which I leveled from my soul each blow upon his smooth brow. I broke his crown and maxillary before I think he had a chance to react. To say he didn’t see it coming

I like the action, wondering what the fellow sitting on her had done. A couple of the phrases I think can be improved. 'my own personal worst' can mean too many other things, 'tackled' may not be the word you want here OR you may want to eliminate the rest of the sentence after 'tackled him'. And maybe remove 'with which I leveled from my soul' and 'upon his smooth brow'. (Is it important that his brow is smooth? And why would anyone aim punches at someones forehead, smooth or otherwise? OW! Can he really break someone's skull with a punch? I had a hole punched into my skull, skulls are THICK like you wouldn't believe. Or is crown a reference to a tooth? Maxillary is jawbone, yes?

I like it; I do. I would keep reading. Poor Sarah. Maybe poor all three of them.


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MrsBrown
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I have nothing to add. I would like to see a re-write because it is an interesting scene.
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waterchaser
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Thanks for the input. I will take the diction under consideration, but I really want to emphasize how "drunk" he was given that he was just shot with a government grade tranquilizer, and is supposed to be out cold.

I also know how incredibly difficult it is to break someone's crown as a friend of mine in middle school once got in a fight. He won the fight without throwing a punch because as he tried to take off his shirt, the other guy swung, catching him on the crown and breaking his knuckle.

That being said, I will admit I didn't think of that when I wrote this part so thanks again.


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Architectus
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If this is the start of the story, I don't think it works. We haven't got to know the characters to care about their suffering. It is usually best to start with a scene that shows us their daily lives.

After we get to know them and can relate to them, a scene like this will be impactful.

There should be a comma before but. ". . . bamboozled before, but this was . . ."

" I saw him sitting on her. I saw him move jerkily and I knew what he had done."

There's really no reason to say he saw. It is a filter word. We know he is seeing if you just say what he is seeing. However, if you decide to say he saw in the first sentence, I would recommend removing it from the second.

He sat on her and because he moved jerkily, I knew what he had done.

I saw him sitting on her. Because he moved jerkily, I knew what he had done.



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