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Author Topic: Book 'Frankie and Kitty'.
hanger55
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Available at Amazon.com. First 13 lines.

“I‘m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the jockey.” Jimmy said to me, it was bitterly cold and my stomach was grumbling. Before the last word left his mouth a screaming crescendo came from above. Leather soled boots were heard to stop dead in their tracks. Listening intently no one dared speak. I attempted to judge from its whining cry, where the bomb would deposit its deathly violence. My heart was racing and for a second my breathing halted.
“Gawd help us.” Was said through a rush of air, when it was suddenly realised it was heading for us.
We were already running by the time the last word left the speakers’ lips. Timbers hit the ground in a rattle as we released the loads we were carrying. In blind spontaneity quickened foot

[ March 19, 2018, 11:08 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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An individual reflects upon a massed infantry charge from a trench front across a non-man's land.

Thirteen lines, by the way, runs to "spontaneity quickened foot". Composed in and counted from Times New Roman proportional typeface's compressed glyph kern overruns Standard Manuscript Format's sixty-six columns and thirteen rows of glyphs, Hatrack's first thirteen basis. Here, by nine rows over, or lines.

Grammar glitches of the fragment fatally distract me from reading at the start: misplaced punctuation, tense shift errors, dangled and stranded participles, passive voice.

No critique, in my estimation, is complete unless a works-for-me attends doesn't-works-for-me; hence, a standout of the fragment is the cliché first line takes a surprise twist from the worn, trite, and dead expression "hungry enough to eat a horse," to a new surprise design: "and chase the jockey." More so, that piece intimates a larger scope of the narrative, the CNF novel perhaps really about a love interest pursuit. All too often, inexperienced writers fall short of timely development of the central import and satire criteria of prose.

That small piece implies a satire is at hand. In that vein, maybe the grammar barbarisms are likewise part of the satire's development, expose the narrator as a hypoliterate speaker-writer, though overabundant, such that they disturb reader reading and comprehension ease, rather than lend appeal to the fragment.

And consider that piece for a title amendment or the title itself: //Frankie and Kitty Chase the Jockey// or //Chase the Jockey//? The early placement, and quick succession, if that title sticks, of that piece, though, allows no tension development of dramatic irony's appeals, too early to be left in suspense and tension for later realization. Unless -- later development of its meaning twists and turns to a fare-the-well, like the jockey is realized a nefarious Cupid who rides Frankie and Kitty like a voodoo loa. (Another of CNF's distinctions is multiple time senses, often a future-now perspective of a past-now, say, of a descendant's present-now perspective of forebears' past-now lives as well as the past-now, two parallel chronological timelines, or parallel nonlinear timelines.)

A dangled and stranded, even strangled participle, for a grammar glitch example, "Listening intently no one dared speak." The participle phrase "Listening intently" does not relate or refer to the sentence subject of the main clause "_no one_ dared speak." Tested: //No one listening intently, no one dared speak.// Failed test. Plus, takes the comma, or a semicolon, really. All is not lost, however, insertion of a dash where the comma is suits the emotionally charged nature of the moment and adjusts the grammar to a readable and comprehensible T. //Listening intently -- no one dared speak.//

I would not read further as an engaged reader as is.

[ March 22, 2018, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Jack Albany
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extrinsic, the final part of the phrase, '...and chase the jockey' means he is hungry enough to eat someone: in other words, to become a cannibal.
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extrinsic
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I understand the idiom. Its use, though, is a degree superficial. If its meaning expanded by fits and starts while the narrative unfolded, that is sublime.
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Jack Albany
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Unfortunately this fragment submission doesn’t work for me on a number of levels.

First, grammar glitches. extrinsic appears to be the ‘grammar guru’ around these parts and I can’t fault his observations. Mainly ‘cos I’m a grammar nit-wit. I’ll just make this observation in support of the use, and teaching of grammar: good grammar aids comprehension and understanding, bad grammar sows confusion only.

But hey, we’re Aussies; and of a certain age. We grew up in the 60’s and early 70’s, a time when new-age educationalists determined that teaching the rules of grammar stifled creativity. As a result, we’re über creative for a bunch of illiterates. Yay, for educational theorists.

Second, the lack of timely development of both setting and character. As soon as I started reading, I had no clue where the story was set, when it was set, who Jimmy is, and who the owner of the perpendicular pronoun, ’I’, is. All the so-called action takes place in a vacuum.

One aspect of this, setting, can easily be solved; at least for Australian readers. All you need do is mention a date and locale: Pozières, Bullecourt, Ypres, Menin Road, Villers-Bretonneux, or Hamel, to list but a few. These are names most Australians will have some passing acquaintance with.

Hope you find some of this useful.

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extrinsic
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I caught several grief directions of English and Latin grammar and rhetoric emphasis and de-emphasis throughout my youth: private schools' rigor, public schools' new ageism. A dozen schools total. And noted differences and motivations behind each of the several. My thought is creativity then and anymore is emphasized at the expense of self-discipline and, net, neither well-served. Most of my advanced language skills developed late in life from personal initiatives, though founded on a strong base.
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Jay Greenstein
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quote:
“I‘m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the jockey.” Jimmy said to me(,) it was bitterly cold and my stomach was grumbling.
• There are two fully independent sentences here, the second unrelated to the subject of the first. Never connect sentences with a comma.

• When adding a tag to a sentence, as you do here, the ending period becomes a comma and the tag begins with a lower case letter.

That aside, while you can picture the scene, and know the characters and what they're doing—and where they are—the reader can't. So for the reader they could be at the track, camping, sailing, or pretty much anywhere. Place the reader in time and space. Make them know what's going on. Then, this could work.
quote:
Before the last word left his mouth a screaming crescendo came from above.
I give up. What's a "screaming crescendo?" A crescendo is an increase in loudness or intensity, usually referring to music.

Sure you clarify, in the next line, but it's too late. You can't retroactively erase confusion.

Here's the deal as I see it: At this point you're trying to make do with the writing techniques we learn in our school days, and trying to dress up the story with language that's a bit over the top. But the problem isn't one of good or bad writing, or even talent. It's that like every other profession, fiction has specialized knowledge that may be obvious once pointed out, but it isn't till then. There are also tricks of the trade mandated by our medium, which is very different from film or stagecraft.

You have lots of company, because our teachers didn't tell us that to write fiction like a pro we need to know what a pro knows. So we pretty much all leave school thinking that writing is writing, and we have that taken care of. But there, we learned skills that make us useful to employers, and they need us to know nonfiction writing, made to inform. Fiction entertains, So a bit of time spend digging out the specialized knowledge of the fiction writer would be time well spent.

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