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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Guns and Gnomes 4th rewrite

   
Author Topic: Guns and Gnomes 4th rewrite
JBSkaggs
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I read all the critiques I rec'd and I have posted the first 13 lines of my beginning to the rewrite. The main comments I kept receiving was that I did not explain the Gnomes adequately or represent them in a dependable manner. So I am rewriting the story to include this and major revisions to the police's reactions. Your comments on these 13 lines and voluteers for the text would be appreciated.

Oh as a warning this is a gritty urban fantasy About modern police investigating murders that involved some gnomes. There are some sexual elements (no sex scenes thoughs) and violence.


One by one the hallway lights blinked out. Olaf Nisse snuffed the bulbs as he passed, mentally shorting them. Easy as blowing out candles. He sensed that Peep followed him. Faithful as a dog but a little dumber. Total darkness blanketed the apartment hallway. Olaf liked the darkness, he could see quite well in the dark..

He stood before apartment 19. The door handle loomed almost two feet above his head. He’d have Peep open the door. He breathed in deeply, smelling the air. Millions of odors rushed in and he sifted and sorted them in complex patterns, faster than any computer the humans might ever build. Yes he could smell Rikard’s scent here. Rikard was inside right now.

Peep lumbered over him, he heard her nose horn scrape the ceiling. Olaf looked up at Peep, she was a good ole troll. Simple and trusting. She began sniffing the air and spoke a low soft word. He felt her body tremble.

“Rikard.”

“Open the door Peep,” Olaf said.

Peep reached out and pushed the door in. The door moaned and splintered, crashed inwards and flew against its hinges.


[This message has been edited by JBSkaggs (edited December 22, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by JBSkaggs (edited December 22, 2004).]


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NewsBys
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Sounds good so far. I like this new angle, very exciting.
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JBSkaggs
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I don't know if I like how this scene works. I have tried to tighten up the writing a bit and add more grip.

Anyway here I try again. Any ideas?

Guns and Gnomes

One by one, the apartment hallway lights blinked out. Olaf Nisse mentally snuffed the bulbs as he passed. Easy as blowing out candles. Soon the hall was as dark as the grave. Olaf preferred the darkness, he could see as well in the dark as most humans could in the light. Electric lights! Bah! For all the human’s size and wealth they are weak and too dependent on trinkets. He approached apartment nineteen and stood examining the door. He looked up at door handle which loomed almost two feet above his head. He'd have Peep open the door.

He sensed that Peep had followed him. He could feel her slow heavy footsteps shuddering through the floor. Olaf heard the scrape, scrape, scrape of her long horn damaging the ceiling. She lumbered up and loomed over him. He smelled her exhalations, heavy breaths pungent with rotted meat and old garbage. He smelled her skin it was of river mud, shit, piss, and earth. The smells comforted him. Like dogs, Olaf’s people sensed the world by smell. He breathed in deeply, smelling the air more intensely. Millions of odors rushed in as he sifted and sorted them in complex patterns, faster than any computer the humans might ever build. He was searching for one particular smell. There it was, intertwined with the smells of humans and of course Peep. Yes he could smell Rikard's scent here. Rikard was inside right now.


Olaf looked up at Peep. She was a good ole troll, simple and trusting. Let the humans keep their dogs. I’ll keep my trolls. He placed a hand on her shin his red cap barely reached her knee. She began sniffing the air, then the door. Her whole elephantine body trembled and shook. He removed his hand.


"Rikard," She said in a deep gravely voice.


"Open the door Peep," Olaf said. Peep reached out and pushed the door in. The door moaned and splintered, crashed inwards and flew against its hinges. Loud raucous music and pot smoke poured from the door.


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NewsBys
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Yes, that has some better points. The first sentence is rather passive though. Maybe start with the second one.
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HuntGod
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"One by one, the apartment hallway lights blinked out. Olaf Nisse mentally snuffed the bulbs as he passed. Easy as blowing out candles."

I'd explain this less and illustrate it more. ex. "Like candles Olaf's mind reached out snuffing the lightbulbs as he passed, enveloping the hall in inky darkness."


"Soon the hall was as dark as the grave. Olaf preferred the darkness, he could see as well in the dark as most humans could in the light. Electric lights! Bah! For all the human’s size and wealth they are weak and too dependent on trinkets."

Same thing illustrate more, ex. "Olaf, comforted by the darkness, mused on the electric lights, Humans, so afraid of the dark, so dependent on these pitiful trinkets" etc.


"He'd have Peep open the door."

This is redundant, just have him wait and when Peep gets there and he says open the door, it is clear why he waited.


"He sensed that Peep had followed him."

Also unnecessary, trimming little lines like this has a very strong cumulative effect on the flow of the story.


"He smelled her exhalations, heavy breaths pungent with rotted meat and old garbage. He smelled her skin it was of river mud, shit, piss, and earth."

Turn this into one sentence. Or change the he smelled in the second sentence. ex. "The rich heady stench of river mud, shit, piss and earth flowed from her."


"faster than any computer the humans might ever build."

I don't know why this line bugs me, but "faster than any human built machine." seems less awkward.

Anyway I like the direction your going in. The idea of a gritty noir detective story with fantasy creatures is appealing. There is a comic called Fables by DC, you might want to check out. It deals with Fairy Tale creatures and characters (Snow White, Big Bad Wolf, etc.) having to deal with living in modern society and is pretty entertaining.

Good luck.


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JBSkaggs
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Thanks to both of you. Only the insane could want to ever think of making a living by writing. Worse only lunatic would do it for fun.

Hopefully the meds will be arriving soon....
as my drool drips to the floor.

How the hell does Koontz get a new novel out every three months? Does it just pop out his butt preformed and grammar checked?


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HuntGod
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LOL...you ever watch Family Guy?

There is a scene with Stephen King sitting talking to his editor.

Editor asks: So tell me about the new book.

King: (looks around and picks up a lamp) Ok, it's about this killer lamp...(at which point he makes scary noises.

Editor: You're not even trying anymore are you...sigh, OK when can you have it for me.

That Koontz comments reminded me...


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djvdakota
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First, how much text are we talking about? I could probably handle up to about 3000 words. Oh, and I like gritty urban stuff with violence and a little sex.

Second, I need to have some sense of Peep's size earlier. Because of her name and because of Olaf's size I immediately imagine her as Olaf's size. Then, BOOM! Surprise! She's so tall she touches the ceiling.

Maybe as simple as:

Instead of: "He sensed that Peep followed him."

Try something like: "Peep, her hair picking up static from the ceiling as she lumbered along, followed him."


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JBSkaggs
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The old text was about 6000 words. But several entire scenes, characters, etc are all gone. SO I am keeping my main characters Detectives Mendoza and Green and rewriting the story almost from scratch. (Thanks to survivor pointing out my story weaknesses so effectively) I want to keep it brief but yet keeping the good full menthol flavor of the gritty crime mystery.

Can I do it? God I hope so.


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JBSkaggs
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Again here is this opening with your guys suggestions.


Olaf Nisse mentally snuffed out the apartment hallway bulbs as he passed. Easy as blowing out candles. The hall fell as dark as the grave. Olaf preferred the darkness. He could see as well in the dark as most humans could in the light. Electric lights! Bah! For all the human’s size and wealth they were always weak. Too damn dependent on trinkets and gadgets. He approached apartment nineteen and examined the door. The door handle loomed two feet above his head.

He knew Peep had followed him. He could feel her slow heavy footsteps shuddering through the floor. She’s like an elephant on parade. Olaf heard the scrape, scrape, scrape of her long horn damaging the ceiling. She lumbered up and loomed over him. He smelled her exhalations of heavy breath pungent with rotted meat and old garbage. Her skin reeked of river mud, shit, piss, and earth. The smells comforted him. Like dogs, Olaf’s people sensed the world by smell. He breathed in deeply, smelling the air more intensely. Millions of odors rushed in as he sifted and sorted them in complex patterns, faster than any computer the humans might ever build. He was searching for one particular smell. There it was, intertwined with the smells of humans and of course Peep. Yes he could smell Rikard's scent here. Rikard was inside right now.

BTW the complete opening scene is around 1000 words or less.


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HuntGod
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It's tighter but doesn't flow as well as the previous version.

"Olaf Nisse mentally snuffed out the apartment hallway bulbs as he passed. Easy as blowing out candles."

Apartment hallway bulbs...mouthful of words. Also try "as he passed, as easilly as blowing out candles."


"The hall fell as dark as the grave. Olaf preferred the darkness."

This just reads awkwardly. Maybe combine it in one sentence "Darkness filled the hall, just the way Olaf liked it."


"Olaf heard the scrape, scrape, scrape of her long horn damaging the ceiling."

How did it damage the ceiling? Maybe describe the gouges left rather than saying it just damaged the ceiling.


Overall I think this is tighter but needs work on the flow. I do appreciate the size of Peeps more now and thought your intro of her was more effective in this version.

I would be interested in looking at the full 1000 words if you'd like.

[This message has been edited by HuntGod (edited December 30, 2004).]


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