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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Natural Police: Chapter 4 - Mural

   
Author Topic: Natural Police: Chapter 4 - Mural
Denevius
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Lee Yeon Seok set his cocobolo walking cane against the trunk of the sprawling tree and looked out at Dragon Head rock rising out of the Korean Strait surrounding Jeju Island. The dying sun gave an orange glow to the black rock shaped like the head of a roaring dragon. Further down the cliff, Japanese tourists took pictures with digital cameras and smartphones. Behind Yeon Seok, a family of three passed, the mother’s arm in her husband’s, their son grasping her other hand. The boy looked at Yeon Seok standing alone in his grey three-piece Vincero suit, and curiosity swept his small features. The boy watched Yeon Seok take a brown leather wallet from his pocket, remove a handful of bills which he carefully folded, and with a quick flick of his wrist, toss the wallet out over the cliff at the maw of the dragon. It hit the water with a quiet plop, and bobbed as if a sacrifice to the beast rearing over it.

[ June 04, 2013, 09:37 AM: Message edited by: Denevius ]

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Denevius
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This is the beginning of chapter 4 of a speculative fiction/urban horror novel. Comments on this 13 are appreciated.
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shimiqua
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I think the first sentence has too many unfamiliar words jammed into it. I'd suggest breaking it up to different sentences, just for ease into reading. I'd suggest stopping after tree.

The dying sun is the hook, but where it is in the sentence shifts the focus to the rock.

It's an interesting angle here though,and I'd keep reading.

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Denevius
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Hey Shimiqua, thanks for the comments! They're appreciated!
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arriki
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I agree whole heartedly with Shimiqua about that first sentence. You are trying to bring in too many ideas right there, in one single sentence.
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babygears81
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Hi Devenius,
I agree with the others about the first sentence. Way too many adjectives. I think, in that sentence you should focus on the most important parts, which are character and setting. We don't need to know what kind of cane he's holding or what the tree looks like. We only have to see the rock and know that we're in Korea, try cutting everything else.

Also, you seem to favor long sentences. I'm not opposed to them, but think the rhythm of the piece could be improved some if you added some shorter ones in the mix.

In the line, "The boy looked at Yeon Seok standing alone in his grey three-piece Vincero suit, and curiosity swept his small features." 'His' technically refers to Yeon Seok, since he was the last person you mentioned, but I think it is supposed to refer to the boy, so you may need to fix that.

There also seems to be a POV shift when you introduce the boy. First we see Yeon Seok, through the narrator's perspective, then it seems we're watching him from the boy's. That threw me a little also.

Hope this was helpful.

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babygears81
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Also, in the sentence I quoted above, (I'm no grammarian) but I'm pretty sure the first part of the sentence and the second part should not be joined with the word 'and'.
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wetwilly
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Chiming in to agree: that first sentence is tough to get through. I found myself skimming by about halfway through it.

The POV shift also through me. Are we in Seok's POV, or the boy's? As it stands, we're in both.

I think Seok standing on the cliff in his suit tossing the wallet out to sea is an interesting image, and you do a good job conjuring it vividly for me.

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wetwilly
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And for the record, I see no problem with "and" in the sentence cited above.
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Denevius
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Hello, and thanks for the comments!

Two quick points. For POV, I'm *fairly* sure there isn't a shift from the "observant" narrator. I don't think at any point we enter into the heads of any of the characters mentioned in these first lines. That's actually why this chapter is titled 'Mural', because it'll stay out of everyone's heads and only give the reader what can be seen.

Secondly, good point about the first sentence. The type of cane, cocobolo, is important, for its value, and for its use at the end of the chapter. But I can drop something else in the sentence to shorten it.

Thanks again!

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Denevius
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Lee Yeon Seok limped to the edge of the cliff and paused by a sprawling tree overlooking the Korean Strait. Below him, Dragon Head rock rose out of the waves, its maw open to an eternal roar. Light from the drowning sun painted the water gold and gave the dragon’s black surface an orange hue. Yeon Seok set his cocobolo walking cane against the trunk of the tree and gently swayed in the breeze as, further down the cliff, Japanese tourists took pictures of the sculpture shaped by erosion with digital cameras and smartphones.
Behind Yeon Seok, a family of three passed, the mother’s arm in her husband’s, their son grasping her other hand. The boy looked at Yeon Seok standing alone in his grey three-piece Vincero suit, and curiosity swept the child’s small features. He watched Yeon

[ June 07, 2013, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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wetwilly
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For me, the second version is a lot easier to swallow. I was able to parse it smoothly.
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