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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Natural Police - Chapter 21

   
Author Topic: Natural Police - Chapter 21
Denevius
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Bu Chang Jin sat opposite the black employee. The man unsettled Chang Jin. His skin was the colour of deep velvet, his eyes hazel. A sleeve of tattoos ran down his arms to stop abruptly at his wrists. They’d been inked by an expert, and in the dim interior of the café, the tiny images crawling along the man’s skin seemed to move in changing lights. The experience left even Chang Jin fascinated, though everything about the man intrigued, and frightened, him. He’d never seen a foreign employee, especially a foreign rogue Gwanlyo member. He wasn’t sure how to behave, or what to say. Simply being caught with the black man would earn him a lengthy imprisonment sentence. Their present dealings, however, included a far more serious violation of company protocol than just this simple meeting. If the Gwanlyo learned about that, Chang Jin would probably be put to death.
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Denevius
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Looking for readers for this chapter and the next, about 3000 words. Willing to swap for a piece of comparable length. Comments on this opening appreciated. Thanks!
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extrinsic
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This chapter opening and many if not all I've read open close in psychic distance, introspection mode. Maybe some variety is warranted, for more than variety's sake. The deftness of managing close narrative distance is becoming a skill that's strong, an emerging strength of your writing.

I don't, however, feel a close aesthetic or emotional distance. The limited setting details, wider-world external sensations, stimuli and response leave me no anchors within the narrative's reality upon which to feel drawn. This feels too close too soon for a chapter opening, for only the one method for all chapter openings.

First sentence, "Bu Chang Jin _sat_ opposite the black employee." "Sat" is an indefinite verb in that context, static voice, a stasis statement implying an indeterminate (imperfect) time for the action. Past tense "sat" is a two-word verb that prescriptively takes a particle, must have a verb and particle (adverb): //sat up or sat down//.

Both these sentences have vague subject antecedent pronouns: "His skin was the colour of deep velvet, his eyes hazel. A sleeve of tattoos ran down his arms to stop abruptly at his wrists." Who? Bu Chang Jin, the syntax implies.

"colour" is the British variant. I haven't noted this before. If the dialect is overall British, I feel all British dialect spellings should be used for consistency. Or if nascent though controversial international standard English, likewise consistency. Wikipedia: "International English"

[ April 29, 2014, 12:49 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Denevius
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I decided to take a page from Game of Thrones when dealing with chapters. Before, I had given each a separate title. This one would have probably been "The Card" Or perhaps "Arms Dealer", since that's what the mysterious figure is. However, because the novel has 11 POVs, and each chapter follows a POV at a time, then I decided to name each chapter after the figure it was following. Because ultimately, the character is the most important aspect of the chapter. This is probably also why you get the close, introspection tone. It's basically a character driven, episodic genre novel without objective protagonists, but with an objective antagonist.

quote:
Who? Bu Chang Jin, the syntax implies.
I kind of see your point here, and I was taking pains to separate them since, at this moment, Chang Jin doesn't know the name of the man he's with. He's asks two paragraphs down. But considering the close introspective tone of the prose, wouldn't it seem somewhat obvious that it's not Chang Jin describing himself? Particularly since his focus is on the figure across from him?
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extrinsic
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After a moment of thought that might bump a reader out of the moment, that the pronouns refer to the employee and not Bu, yes, obvious. Is that too much of a speed bump? I think it is, especially in third-person narration. Third-person pronouns in introspection mode can de re reference a viewpoint character's self-perceptions and external sensations. Not until "the man's skin" is the context cleared up.

Why I don't feel emotional or aesthetic distance closing comes from missing a cue or two of the scene's physical reality that promises more setting development will come later and that grounds me as reader in the reality imitation.

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jerich100
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Consider changing, “A sleeve of tattoos ran down his arms to stop abruptly at his wrists. They’d been inked by an expert”, with “A sleeve of tattoos, expertly inked, ran down his arms to stop abruptly at his wrists.”

I don’t think, “They’d been inked by an expert, and in the dim interior of the café, the tiny images crawling along the man’s skin seemed to move in changing lights” should be one sentence.

There seems to be a lot of narration for a passage in Chapter 21. Shouldn't that information just “come out” in the roll out of the story? Why would “being caught” with the black man earn him a prison sentence? I think that should be revealed by events, rather than a narrator saying it.

In the last sentence, consider deleting “probably.” Are the Gwanlyo nasty, or mostly nasty? Fully nasty is better.

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Denevius
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Hey Jerich, thanks for the comments!
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jerich100
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I can swap 3000 words with you. How is this done, assuming you're still up to it?
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Denevius
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Yep, that's cool. I'll email you the excerpt now.
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Denevius
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Ah, except you don't have an email in your profile page. So just email me.
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jerich100
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Done. I also fixed my email address.
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