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Author Topic: Re-write The Voyage of the Jules Verne
Gregg L
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I have re-written the front of this story once again. I need to know of this new beginning is one that makes my character interesting and wanting more. And if so would you care to read the story and give me some constructive advice? The story is 8832 words.

Avery sits at her desk fidgeting, her stylus tapping the edge of her desk a rapid tap tap tap, followed by a slower drawn out tap, tap, tap. The sequence repeating unending for the past two minutes, her left foot matching the rhythm of the stylus, while Mrs. Jackson is lecturing the class on the rules to be followed her classroom.
Avery is relentless with her tapping, deliberately getting louder. Mrs. Jackson takes a deep breath, pointed looking at Avery, making sure she has eye contact. The tapping continues, though the volume is now restrained.
"Miss Lockhart, I assume there is a reason you are tapping out an ancient code for distress in my classroom?" Her tone is sharp, the meaning clear; cease and desist you actions now

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extrinsic
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The strain of what Avery's taps, an event, mean in a classroom upsets emotional equilibrium, a strong start and draft.

One of present tense's challenges is apparent from the -ing ring rhyme from thirteen -ing words, present participles and gerunds. Their rhyme makes them a nuisance to readers of prose. Also, their nondefinite time significance asks readers to remember less than memorable and unnecessarily pieces that remain open for an indefinite span. Recast for simple present tense is warranted for those reasons. For example:

"Avery sits at her desk fidgeting, her stylus tapping the edge of her desk a rapid tap tap tap, followed by a slower drawn out tap, tap, tap."

//Avery fidgets at her desk--her stylus taps the edge of the desk: tap-tap-tap, and tap, tap, tap, and tap-tap-tap.//

Simple present tense, at this moment, now, once and done and on to the next sentence, the flow progressively, definitely forward in time as events unfold. Note punctuation substitutes for several words, strengthens the mystique, same clarity though, and lends definiteness and builds a structural arc to the sentence.

Similar recasts of as many -ing words clauses and sentences as practical would also punch up the impact. Though puncuation used timely and judiciously.

"The sequence repeating unending for the past two minutes, her left foot matching the rhythm of the stylus, while Mrs. Jackson is lecturing the class on the rules to be followed her classroom."

//The sequence repeats for two minutes; her left foot matches the stylus taps.

//Mrs. Jackson lectures the class, sets the rules for the classroom.//

"Avery is relentless with her tapping, deliberately getting louder. Mrs. Jackson takes a deep breath, pointed looking at Avery, making sure she has eye contact. The tapping continues, though the volume is now restrained.
"Miss Lockhart, I assume there is a reason you are tapping out an ancient code for distress in my classroom?" Her tone is sharp, the meaning clear; cease and desist [your] actions now "

"you actions now" typo "you," possessive pronoun "your" warranted.

//Avery relentlessly taps, deliberatey louder and louder. Mrs. Jackson takes a deep breath, looks pointedly at Avery, makes sure she has eye contact. The taps continue, more restrained.
"Miss Lockhart, is there a good reason you tap out an ancient distress code in my classroom? Jackson's sharp tone is clear: cease and desist now //

My curiosity is aroused why Lockhart taps S-O-S, where she might have learned it, and why she's distressed, the volume increase a signal she's upset. My empathy for Avery is begun a mite from that curiosity. Otherwise, a strong start, -ing words a bar to what works for me.

[ June 27, 2014, 05:22 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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Third person, or is that omniscient POV, present tense? Whichever it is, in my opinion you've taken the hard road and, in these opening paragraphs I think you've tripped at the first pothole for the very reason extrinsic enunciated; fidgeting should be fidgets, tapping should be taps, repeating should be repeats etc.

For me, and most readers, any misstep in tense in such a work will jar them right out of the moment and they'll be left sitting there wondering why they'd bother reading further if the writer is so careless.

Meticulous editing and proof-reading is called for in this case, I think.

Phil.

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Gregg L
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Thanks. I know I need to edit to present tense through out the story. That tense is the hardest part for me.

Now that I have a hook I can drill into the story and fix the tense and grammar errors.

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jerich100
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I can do a 8,832-word exchange with you if you'd like. E-mail me.
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