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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Hiding From Herself

   
Author Topic: Hiding From Herself
LDWriter2
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So here is 13 lines to a 10,000 word story. I could use someone to find the nitpicks: wayward commas, typos, wrong used words and the like. Plus any really bad sentences. I'm sure the writing needs help in lots of places but I really want to concentrate on those pesky nitpicks that like to hide from me.

The title is, um, maybe not the best but it serves. The story has some horror, Urban Fantasy and romance elements to it. And one section might be rated R. I tired to tone down it down so it's not really graphic but the husband does something during an argument to prove he is what he says he is.

So:
Tanya “Barbie” Trixter(her real last name but maybe not for long) leaned with her back against the wall. She needed to look like she had no worries as she waited for a customer. The black skirt-way too short to her husband-let legs and other parts chill in the late night air. She could put up with it to catch a killer however. She let her mouth twist into a frown for a moment. She spat out her over chewed gum, it no longer would help her stay awake.
With an unconcerned expression on her face she looked around. The night looked thick as usual, the streetlamp she stood under pooled light around her. A bizarre twinkle shot up her spinal cord. A sudden desire to have her husband with her grew. She shook her head, her back up waited around the corner


Its Her

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
Tanya “Barbie” Trixter(her real last name but maybe not for long) leaned with her back against the wall. She needed to look like she had no worries as she waited for a customer. The black skirt-[--double hyphens is the Standard Manuscript Format convention for signaling an interruption, or an em-dash may be used in anticipation of publication layout ease, some venues require triple hyphens] way too short to her husband-[--]let legs and other parts chill in the late night[late-night] air. She could put up with it to catch a killer[,] however. She let her mouth twist into a frown for a moment. She spat out her over chewed[over-chewed] gum,[comma splice--; or .] it no longer would help her stay awake.
With an unconcerned expression on her face[,] she looked around. The night looked thick as usual, the streetlamp she stood under pooled light around her. A bizarre twinkle shot up her spinal cord. A sudden desire to have her husband with her grew. She shook her head,[comma splice--; or .] her back up [backup] waited around the corner


Its Her

Strictly nondiscretionary mechanical style markup. No content and organization (craft) or expression (voice) or audience accessibility and appeal commentary.
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Grumpy old guy
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It reads like a Police report. And, you're telling me everything; which has its place in narrative, but I would contend that this scene is ripe for providing an immersive moment for the reader. And that could be your hook.

A nit for your trouble, people really don't twist their mouths into a frown; it's usually referred to as a grimace.

Phil.

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pidream
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Tanya “Barbie” Trixter (her real last name but maybe not for long) leaned with her back against the wall.
1.I would cut- her real last name but maybe not for long), unless it comes into play in an important way because it just bogs the sentence down. Cut- with her
She needed to look like she had no worries as she waited for a customer.
2.You’re telling me everything here, consider- She swept her hair back and let her eyes prowl the streets for a hungry customer. Just a suggestion.
The black skirt-way too short to her husband-let legs and other parts chill in the late night air. She could put up with it to catch a killer however.
3.Here again you’re telling me everything- Show me. Consider- Her super tight black mini gave as much warmth as a band-aide would an iceberg, but to catch a killer sacrifices must be made.
She let her mouth twist into a frown for a moment. She spat out her over chewed gum, it no longer would help her stay awake.
4.Again telling us, Show me her actions. Consider- A frown twisted her painted lips as she spit out the now tasteless gum.
With an unconcerned expression on her face she looked around.
5.Telling again. I know you can do this Show me. Consider- She rubbed her hands together to warm them, looking from side to side as she did.
The night looked thick as usual, the streetlamp she stood under pooled light around her. A bizarre twinkle shot up her spinal cord.
6.I truly feel terrible saying this but you’re telling me again. Consider- The light from the streetlight pooled around her and a shiver ran up her spine.
A sudden desire to have her husband with her grew. She shook her head, her back up waited around the corner
7.I find the need to have her husband here while sentimental, not a rational thought, for me, because she is playing a hooker and not unless, her hubby likes that stuff would want to see along with the accompanying danger involved. Consider cutting that line and just saying- She was happy her back-up was just around the corner.
The best way to be able to show some things in your writing is to experience them. Go out in the cold in your underwear, take a drive with friends, if you’re of age, through a red light district. Go on a police ride along if they are offered in your town and ask all the questions you can and listen to what they say. Sit on a corner in a busy park or a coffee shop and watch people’s body language and write what you see in detail and FEEL IT! And most of all keep writing. Good luck.

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LDWriter2
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Thanks all.


I hope this doesn't come across as sounding sarcastic because I don't mean it that way.


Maybe I'm too much into my own story but "No content and organization (craft) or expression (voice) "? I see it.

And even though it hasn't come up for a while my problem with Show and Tell might be rearing its head. I don't really see that much of a difference between what I wrote and pidreadm's suggestions.

I really don't mean the above as anything bad but to me you just rearranged and changed a couple of words. It might end up reading somewhat smoother than mine which wouldn't be bad but to me it's not that big of a difference.

And her husband and name does come into it. I should have mentioned that but the main issue is the relationship with her husband not the killer. And hubby does save her life which makes the line that she felt the need for her husband a foreshadowing. And the phrase, about her name might not be that for long, a hint of the real conflict. That sentence is complicated but I wasn't able to come up with anything shorter.

Grimace is probably a better word than frown there.

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Grumpy old guy
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G'day LD, let's take a look at what you've got:

Tanya "Barbie" Trixter -- who ever thinks of themselves like that, or are you taking the POV of a narrator? And, while the first paragraph could be said to take that POV, the second reads like third person.

quote:
She needed to look like she had no worries as she waited for a customer.
That is telling, what would she do to pretend she was unconcerned? Show me her yawning, scratching her left butt-cheek, anything that would display nonchalance. Hookers, and that's the part I'm assuming she is playing, always strut and stand with an air of self-confidence, it's camouflage against being seen as a victim.

quote:
The black skirt-way too short to her husband-let legs and other parts chill in the late night air. She could put up with it to catch a killer however.
Again, telling. Why not have her pull down at the hem of her skirt a few times, no reason to be blatantly immodest. Instead of telling me her other parts were chill, why not:

She looked at the goose-bumps on her arms and legs. How can I rub enough warmth back into them, she thought as she brazenly searched the surrounding night.

quote:
A bizarre twinkle shot up her spinal cord.
All I can say to that is, what!

Hope this is of some use to you.

Phil.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
G'day LD, let's take a look at what you've got:

Tanya "Barbie" Trixter -- who ever thinks of themselves like that, or are you taking the POV of a narrator? And, while the first paragraph could be said to take that POV, the second reads like third person.

quote:
She needed to look like she had no worries as she waited for a customer.
That is telling, what would she do to pretend she was unconcerned? Show me her yawning, scratching her left butt-cheek, anything that would display nonchalance. Hookers, and that's the part I'm assuming she is playing, always strut and stand with an air of self-confidence, it's camouflage against being seen as a victim.

quote:
The black skirt-way too short to her husband-let legs and other parts chill in the late night air. She could put up with it to catch a killer however.
Again, telling. Why not have her pull down at the hem of her skirt a few times, no reason to be blatantly immodest. Instead of telling me her other parts were chill, why not:

She looked at the goose-bumps on her arms and legs. How can I rub enough warmth back into them, she thought as she brazenly searched the surrounding night.

quote:
A bizarre twinkle shot up her spinal cord.
All I can say to that is, what!

Hope this is of some use to you.

Phil.

Thanks.

Again I could very well be missing something I seem to have that problem with this story but it is Third Person. Except when I put in her thoughts trying for some Show.

Her being "blatantly immodest" is one of the problems she is having with her husband. She is so wrapped up in her career that she is blind to certain things.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
Maybe I'm too much into my own story but "No content and organization (craft) or expression (voice) "?

I only meant that I made no commentary about anything besides mechanical style as requested in your preamble to the thirteen lines.
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pidream
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LD
An example of telling vs showing.

Telling: It was hot. The frige door was open and I saw a beer. I walked to the frig grabbed the beer, opened and drank it.

Showing: It was hot, sweat trickled down my nose and onto my upper lip. Through the open frig door the icy cold beer called to me. In three short steps the beer was in my hand, the top twisted off and the cool nectar flowed down my throat.

LD. I know, I don't post as often as I used to but I just as anyone else here wants for each of us is to better our craft. Writing he damned hard- just keep doing it.

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Grumpy old guy
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LD, in the realm of showing and telling, I may have an answer of sorts to your dilemma. All showing is, in fact, a form of telling. As you said to pidream, all you could see were different words, not showing.

But that's the point of difference between showing and telling; the choice of words and phrasing.

"It was a dark and stormy night." is definitely telling. However, something like this is (I hope) is showing:

After the dark and rain heavy clouds had eaten the moon, Tanya pined for even that faint light when an icy wind whipped the stinging hem of her raincoat around her calves. Lightening tore the sky apart and moments later she could feel the echo of rolling thunder in her bones.

Yes, I'm 'telling' you what is happening, it's the manner of the telling. I'm trying to put words on the page that will allow you to imagine you're there, in the dark with an icy wind and a storm brewing.

In your opening, as it stands, I'm can't imagine myself in that place at that time; there isn't anything for my imagination to grab hold of. Showing is about drawing a picture with words, in my opinion.

Phil.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
quote:
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
Maybe I'm too much into my own story but "No content and organization (craft) or expression (voice) "?

I only meant that I made no commentary about anything besides mechanical style as requested in your preamble to the thirteen lines.
Which might mean I misunderstood what you wanted to say. Or I was thinking of the hatrackers who went a bit beyond what I wanted.
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LDWriter2
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Okay Is this any better? Hopefully it comes out as 13 lines not 14 here. The smell came in later, I moved it up because it is connected to the desire for her husband.


"Tanya “Barbie” Trixter leaned with her back against the rough stone wall. She forced her face into an expression of practiced unconcern. Thoughts of her husband crowded out other thoughts however. With a tug she tried to pull down her black mini-dress. It was way too low and short for her husband but he didn’t understand. However with the cold wind freezing her legs and other parts he could be right this night. She would endure it to catch a killer though.
The diesel fumes from that last delivery truck still coated her tongue. By the rumble-cough it made it it may not last the night. She spat out the taste but still kept her eyes on the night. It looked darker than usual even as light from the streetlamp above her, pooled around her. A bizarre twinkle shot


If it is better would anyone like to look over the whole story for nitpicks? Besides being a long it might be Okay.

Well, maybe but probably not but I'm still concerned with the nitpicks and totally bad sentences.

[ April 08, 2013, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Grumpy old guy
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LD, I find it a definite improvement. I wouldn't say you couldn't do better with some thought, but it is starting to put me in place and time.

Two things, what's a bizarre twinkle, and how does a nose winkle?

Phil.

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LDWriter2
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My writing can always be better

A bizarre twinkle is something very unusual that is another foreshadowing. Trying for something that isn't the usual cliche.

And maybe other people call it something else but I call it winkle when I move my nose because of a smell or it moves itself just before a sneeze.

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pidream
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LD- much better indeed. Always put yourself in the characters place, feel what they feel or sense and leave the other words out because the showing places us in their skin and we live the story through that eyes. Every time you feel the need to say: It was way too low and short for her husband cut/edit- but he didn't understand. I think we all got it it was the job that required it.
Keep it up.

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