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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Turning of the tide

   
Author Topic: Turning of the tide
Apprentice Wordsmith
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The sea swirled around Craig's ankles, glooping in the wet sand. The tang of salt caught at his throat and warm sun reflected off the water's surface. Shielding his eyes, he watched the girl walking beside him. Her name was Kelly and he had known her for two days, and was in love. She was ten, like him, but a good two inches taller. She had long brown hair that waved in the breeze, deep green eyes, that reminded him of the sea and pale delicate skin. He thought she was the prettiest girl in the world. He opened his mouth to tell her so, but was interrupted by a shout from Roger.
Roger was tall, bulky with spiky red hair, and a year older. He had been at the campsite for longer than either of them. He was crouched pointing at something in the sea.

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skadder
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The sea swirled around Craig's ankles, glooping (not sure how it 'gloops'--be careful of using verbs that require people to stop reading and think about what you are trying to say. I would say 'swirling' was enough) in the wet sand. The tang of salt caught at his throat (tang suggests taste--catching at his throat? Seems a little strange phraseology-- There was a tang of salt on the wind.e.g he tasted the salt. He wouldn't do this AT his throat, but in his throat. But then you ignore this and go on about the sun. You could have followed it by saying it made him cough or spit, otherwise why mention it, we get he is at the seaside.)and warm sun reflected off the water's surface. Shielding his eyes, he watched the girl (presumably he knows her name already, so why not mention it at this stage!) walking beside him. Her name was (You don't need the 'her name was' bit) Kelly and he had known her for two days, and was in love (this whole bit is 'telling'--you are telling the reader he has known her for two days and he was in love. Try showing us these facts. e.g. (quick example!) He turned to Kelly, walking beside him. She smiled back at him with a flash of white teeth and deep green eyes. She was so beautiful. He couldn't believe they'd only met two days earlier..) She was ten, like him, but a good two inches taller. She had long brown hair that waved in the breeze, deep green eyes,(remove comma) that reminded him of the sea (insert comma) and pale delicate skin. He thought she was the prettiest girl in the world(then make him think that). He opened his mouth to tell her so, but was interrupted by a shout from Roger.("Kelly? I just wanted--" There was a shout and Craig spun to see Roger crouching...)
Roger was tall(so..Taller than Craig, Roger had spiky red hair...), bulky with spiky red hair, and a year older. He had been at the campsite for longer than either of them.(is it important that he has been at the campsite longer? DO you need this fact in the 1st 13 lines?) He was crouched pointing at something in the sea.


I think your prose is pretty good. You have a fair bit of telling which you must try and remove. Telling is allowed but in small quantities and well disguised. You have a hook, although it could be stronger if you removed stuff that wasn't required in the intro and perhaps injected a little dialogue.

"Hey."
Craig spun round at the shout. Roger was a hundred yards away by the shallows and he waved Craig over. The older boy crouched at the water's edge and pointed to something in the sea.
"Man, you gotta see this, Craig--" Roger shook his head, "I ain't never seen anything like this before."

Just a quick example, but putting in some dialogue gives the piece a greater sense of immediacy and life.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited November 22, 2008).]


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JenniferHicks
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You have some nice description and scene-setting here, but I'm not sure I would keep reading. Here's why:

-- Gloop isn't a word, at least not according to my dictionary. I don't mind occassional made-up words, but not as verbs in the first sentence.

-- There's too much telling about Kelly and Roger. A good tipoff is the word "was." I'm not sure physical descriptors are even necessary that high up in the story, if at all. I'm not trying to write your story for you, but I'll give one example. Instead of "Her name was Kelly and he had known her for two days, and was in love" -- maybe "He had known Kelly for only two days but already was in love."

Hope this helps. Good luck!


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deebum25
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I have learned (here actually) that 'was' is the passive voice and you want to use the active voice. The best examples that I use to remind myself of this:

passive: The parade was kept orderly by public safety officers.
active: Public safety officers kept the parade orderly.

The passive voice tends to alienate the reader. Believe me it's a mistake that I just now find myself catching.

Good luck!


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annepin
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Passive voice is a construction, not a verb! Meaning, the verb "to be" is used to form passive voice, but in and of itself, is _not_ passive voice.

Please visit this link for discussions and clarifications.

I don't think passive voice alienates readers and sometimes is necessary or can be used to good effect. It does, however, tend to create confusion because it can be less specific, often sparking questions that need to be answered.

The report was written.

Joe wrote the report.

Joe was writing the report. (Not passive voice, even though it uses the verb "to be".)

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited November 22, 2008).]


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deebum25
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And I learn something new again today. Thanks annepin!
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks, annepin.

deebum25, as you will find if you follow the link annepin provided, "was" is static (as in state of being) as opposed to dynamic/active.

Your examples of passive and active were correct, but not because of "was."

If you want a word to help you check for passive voice, "by" is a good one, though not necessary or sufficient because not all passive voice examples give "credit" or "blame" to whomever or whatever is responsible for the action (which is why passive voice is used in scientific papers and in politics).


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deebum25
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And this is what I like about this site. Sorry to get off track while I get my skillz sharpened AW!
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Apprentice Wordsmith
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Thank you for all the comments. I can see now that there's too much telling in this bit. The rest of the piece is nearly all showing, and because of that I felt the need to set the scene quite strongly first. I guess that's the advantage of this 'first 13 lines' idea, it helps you really focus on the beginning and make sure it comes across right.
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CosmicSea
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Hey
It doesn't feel like a lead-in, but more like info that should be introduced later. 'gloop' looks and sounds strange there. The salt catching at his throat made it seem he is treading water rather than only ankle deep.
'for longer' also doesn't look right, maybe leave out the 'for'.
Do ten year-olds fall in love? I was wondering if 'a little crush' might sound better, or even 'really liked'.

good luck with your efforts.


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