I've rewritten the first 13 half a dozen different ways. Comments?
Story complete at 8500 words. Anyone willing to read?
Shan panted as his bare feet slid backwards with each step in the soft sand… the same tan sand that made up most of Island Twenty Three. He slid more than usual because of the extra equipment he carried. Would Dad tell him why? Or just tell him to go play, as usual, his mind already preoccupied with setting up his instruments ‘the right way’. That way was much too exacting for a boy of twelve, Dad had made clear from the start. While Dad had requested his help with his part of the pre-terraforming survey of Neptune Two, Shan now believed that all Dad wanted was for him to carry the gear… and then get out of Dad’s way. Frustrating. “Shan? Stop down there, next to the pseudo-grass," Dad indicated with his chin.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 01, 2010).]
2/7/10: Third cut (second is down below) with a change in emphasis. Is this more consistent with a 12 year old boy?
"Turn it right, Shan. No, not that right. Here. Let me." Shan watched his father adjust the recorder exactly the same way Shan had. Before he could protest, he saw his father's gaze unfocus, an indication of a message from his implant. His father, when his eyes returned, cut Shan off with his ranting, “No! They mustn’t halt the survey now! If we don’t understand the animals here, terraforming will destroy them!” "What if it does?” responded Shan, still irked. “There's nothing here but some little lizards. Nothing important." His father rounded on him, shocked. “Shan! Don’t you ever spout that kind of nonsense again. I’ll not allow my own son to make a laughing stock of me.” “But that’s what Dr. Adams said,” defended Shan.
edited by Stutson 10/7/10.
[This message has been edited by stutson (edited February 07, 2010).]
Hi, stutson! Here are my comments. They aren't positive, but hopefully they help.
I found the ellipses a bit annoying. They can work in dialogue and thoughts, but not to set apart action and setting description.
The next lines are confusing. It looks like Shan is either wondering why the extra equipment makes him slide more than usual or something about why he's carrying equipment. In "just tell him to go play, as usual, his mind", the "him" seems to refer to Shan and the "his" to Dad, but I had to stop and consider the meanings. The pronouns in that sentence and in others weren't clear.
"That way was much too exacting" makes no sense to me. What is "That way"?
This opening is jumbled, and I assume the story will take too much effort to figure out. When you rewrite, please focus on how each word and then each sentence flows with the next.
I agree with aspirit about the elipses. However, I dont find it jumbled, at least no more so than appropriate from the POV of a young person. I like the voice and the character immersion you have going on.
Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008
| IP: Logged |
"Da-ad! You always say 'Run along and play’, when I try to ask you what you're doing," complained Shan as he dropped his pack. "You promised I could help you. That's why I came along to this deserted sandbox of an island. Why won't you let me do anything?" "What are you talking about? You're helping," his father replied, motioning at the pack of instruments at Shan's feet. "Sort of. I hope everything still works right." His tone was accusing. "I wouldn't know," Shan retorted. "You don't tell me how or..." Shan stopped when he noticed the blank look come over his father's face that meant a message arriving over his implant. He fretted. They were finally talking... sort of.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited February 02, 2010).]
Way over thirteen lines--also we generally post the second version by editing the first post and slotting it under the original so people can see the evolutions. Then just make a post at the bottom saying new version above. It's easier for people to keep track of.
Use of ellipses too often.
Motioning is vague verb.
You shouldn't have to tell us his tone was accusing. The dialogue, his actions should say that for you:
"You're helping," His father knelt by the pack. He withdrew the delicate instrument and turned it in his hands. "Sort of. I hope it still works right--don't drop it next time, okay?"
Just an example.
I don't like your quotes in quotes. I am fairly certain it is wrong. I think it should be:
"Da-ad! You always say run along and play when I try to ask you..."
How did he sense the his father's anger--ESP? Or was it the frown and the clenched jaw. You'll deepen the POV by telling us what he saw rather than glossing over it. They was its written suggests he senses it in the re-focusiing of the eyes--where as I think it would be in the facial expression--so you kinda lost me there.
So he's been there a month? I'm getting whiney-teenager-just-arrived at the beginning. Also a little unsure of boy's age:
--Run along and play--8 years old ish
"Sorry, Shan, there'll be no time for training... or cataloging, either. They're picking us up tonight. How we're supposed to do a proper terraforming survey when they cut us off so prematurely… The results won't be worth anything."--promises of training and cataloging (and the language) make me think the boy is older.
One of the problems of having a child/YA as a protag is that knowing their age is more important than Buck, Captain of the Interceptor and Hero of the Galaxy--who we simply guess to be somewhere between 25-35 (hero age).
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited February 02, 2010).]
I actually like the first one better, thought there is nothing "wrong" with the second.
Some people actually do prefer things like being told the tone is accusing and would find something like "sensing" to be deeper POV than description of a facial expression. ~shrug~ the conveying of emotions and also character immersion are two things that in my experience are totally personal and subjective. Do it one way and it works for some, not for others...do it the other way, and it just switches.
I, personally, got more of a sense of Shan's character in the first version.