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Author Topic: And again...
scm288
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I'm determined to make this work. Let's see how this one does...

Michael clambered down off of his bunk to face the open door, swinging lightly in the cold draft sweeping through the floorboards. Blake’s sheets were sprawled on the floor, as if he had scampered out of his bed. Michael knew much better than to follow his brother, because Renault would be out there. His father scared him, especially at night. Those knuckles, obscenely large for his frail hands. Those leering eyes, always spying on Michael and Blake. He knew that if he went out there, Renault would get angry, because he didn’t trust his sons. He trusted no one. All because of a Michael’s dead mother. But Michael couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Blake out there to his fate, alone. He had to join his brother out there, in the dead of the night.
So he walked out the door, cautiously and afraid, treading lightly, so as to not wake up Renault. His father would undoubtedly be sitting on the rusty red armchair in the main room, the only piece of actual furniture in the house. He had made it for Michael’s mother, shortly after they had settled in Aregont. She died the next night, with Michael in her arms. Renault hated him especially for that. But such hatred was ancient history. What really mattered was the present, and the eminent danger that Michael was risking.

EDIT: I gave the father a pronoun: his name.

[This message has been edited by scm288 (edited May 15, 2005).]


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jeduthun
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Good job. I'm seeing a lot of improvement here. There's more action, and we start to care about the characters.

There's just one technical thing getting in the way, and it's the use of pronouns:

Michael knew much better than to follow Blake, because his father would be out there In this sentence, we can't tell if it's Blake's father or Michael's father you're talking about. Don't write it so that we can understand it; write it so we can't possibly misunderstand it.

He had to join his brother Is Blake Michael's brother? Do we know that already? If not, then somewhere above you need to say, "his brother Blake" so we know when you say "his brother" later, that it's Blake you're talking about.

You get the idea.

PS I like your determination and persistence on this. Keep it up!


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scm288
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Thanks for the advice. I changed a couple of pronouns.

Hope it's less confusing!


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jeduthun
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Closer.
I think what you might need to do is follow OSC's advice from Character and Viewpoint, which is to think of how Michael thinks of his brother, and use that word consistently. Same with the father. What kind of relationship do they have? What does Michael call him? Father? Papa? Daddy? Joe? Choose the right one and then always use that when Michael thinks of his father.

ALso, does Michael have any relationship with his father's wife? I know I NEVER call my mom "my father's wife" -- how about you?

Here's one way it might look if you did that consistently with both characters. See if you think it reads more clearly:

Michael clambered down off of his bunk to face the open door, which wasswinging lightly in the cold draft sweeping through the floorboards. Blake’s sheets were sprawled on the floor, as if he had scampered out of his bed. Michael knew much better than to follow Blake, because Father would be out there. Father scared him, especially at night. Those knuckles, obscenely large for his frail hands. Those leering eyes, always spying on Michael and Blake. Michael knew that if he went out there, Father would get angry, because Father didn’t trust his sons. He trusted no one. All because Mom died. But Michael couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Blake out there to his fate, alone. He had to join Blake out there, in the dead of the night.

So he walked out the door, cautiously and afraid, treading lightly, so as to not wake up Father. Father would undoubtedly be sitting on the rusty red armchair in the main room, the only piece of actual furniture in the house. Father had made it for Mom, shortly after they had settled in Aregont. She died the next night, with Michael in her arms. Father hated him especially for that. But such hatred was ancient history. What really mattered was the present, and the eminent danger that Michael was risking.


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scm288
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Maybe I should point out a few aspects about Michael's relationship with his father.

He is absolutely terrified of his father. Imagine living with a thug. Would YOU give him a respectful title like "Father" or "Dad"?

He is so distant from his father that he does not even give him a title. He is simply "the father".

But very good points about "his father's wife". I'll change that to "his mother". She died when he was only an infant, and so, as he had never established any relationships with her, she is simply "the mother".

This is a problem I was having in earlier submissions. I tried to explain this, but that only made my submission into a summarization. Without this information, it makes no sense. So I have to mix it into the submission using actions and descriptions and motives. And that is what is giving me problems.


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jeduthun
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In The Color Purple, she calls her father Mister. It becomes a very terrifying word the way she uses it.

Anything you choose will probably be right. Go for it.


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Survivor
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I call my father "Dad". I even love the man, in my own way.
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scm288
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Also, the title "Father" or "Dad" ruins the tone of the story. Michael is meant to be alone, without support. Only Blake (the older brother) has a name; the rest are hidden.

It's just my way of seperating Michael from his dysfunctional family relationships. Probably not the most practical way, I know, but it works.


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scm288
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Oh, and this is not set in modern times. That is for certain. However, the submission size doesn't allow for more than thirteen lines, so I can't insert it. (It would also mess up the POV - does ANYONE refer to their time as the past?)

Thus, he does not call his father "Dad", for obvious reasons.

[This message has been edited by scm288 (edited May 12, 2005).]


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Sure, so he calls him "Father" or something oldfashioned like that. I don't get the big deal. People in dysfunctional families still call their fathers "Papa" or "Father" or "Dad" or whatever. They might not look to their father for, well, affection. But they don't know about fatherly affection. They don't know that "Dad" is a term of endearment or affection. "Dad" is just the name of their father.
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scm288
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Sorry about me digesting the advice so slowly. Yes, you're right, a pronoun is necssary. So, he'll be calling his father by his first name.

His father doesn't want the reminder that he has a son, so he tells them to call him by his real name.

Thanks for all the advice. I think I can work this out.


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That's an interesting solution. It could work, though you might have him demand that they call him "mister" or "sir", something like that, rather than calling him by name.

Your solution would be good because you could create the impression that they were orphans under a harsh guardian, leave aside the biological fact of parentage till later. That better reflects the POV without requiring histrionics or anything.


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