Author Topic: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome  (Read 1719 times)

Nordy

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560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« on: January 04, 2010, 10:13:01 AM »
 Here is a revised portion of my YA novel. Can you please review and let me know what kind of feeling you get from it, and how is my showing vs telling coming along. Thanks. One more thing, how old does my protagonist appear to be?

Edit: Re revised beneath
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 04:54:09 PM by Nordy »

Offline arhaar

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2010, 11:09:32 AM »
Nordy,

I didn't see the original of this so I'm coming at this fresh.

I'll start with the niggling things. These few phrases threw me while I was reading:

 "Sticking her hand into the icy room she felt around the various shoes, books, clothes until she found what she was looking for."
For a moment I saw her standing, rather than lying down. Maybe it's a matter of describing that she's taking her hand out of the comfort of the coccoon and into the icy air and that she's feeling around beside her bed. You actually don't ever say she's in bed...

"she threw it at the whirring shutters "
Don't understand the shutters...are there speakers in the shutters?

"a thousand pin pricks whirled up and down her left arm making her fingers twitch and muscles spasm. " I thought her arm was asleep at first. Maybe move reference to chip up in the text (or perhaps you've addressed in preceding text I haven't seen).

Okay, with that behind, the text is very intriguing. I liked the image of the grandmother with a wooden spoon it what's clearly a high-tech world. Nice tension built with the dementia and suspense regarding where is Kerry's mother.

I would be happy to read more in the future.

Cheers,
Amanda
ARHaar

Offline Linda Aitchison

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 11:30:31 AM »
Here's what I think in case it's of interest/use. I have two daughters approaching the age I think fits in the 'young adult category. This is just my opinion, I think the writing could be much tighter and have more of an impact - you have imagined an engaging scene and I am interested to know more about what's happening but I find the passage wordy and lacking 'oomph' in parts. Good luck and all the best to you.



The hollow voice of curfew control echoed though the dark, deserted streets. ‘The time is 5.38am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 16.40pm.’

The hollow voice of curfew control sounds sort of nice but I thought it was longwinded and slowed things down. 16.40 is in the 24hour clock so wouldn't have pm, but 4.40 would. I should imagine in the future they may do away with am or pm? :)

Kerry Adams was wrapped in a cocoon of warm blankets and didn’t want to wake up, ‘I hate you, one of these days I’m going to find you and rip out your wires.’

Am lost here as to knowing what this is directed at and it confuses and frustrates me, you may want to set the scene more?Blankets are warm so you could leave out the adjective. On reading further down I realise she is talking to the voice, but would have liked to have worked this out earlier.
Sticking her hand into the icy room she felt around the various shoes, books, clothes until she found what she was looking for. Swinging her boot with a practiced aim she threw it at the whirring shutters then crawled deeper into her bed.

IN UK spelling practise is with an 's' as a verb, but it may be different in US English? :) Personally, I don't like the use of 'the' so much - and this sentence seems overcrowded to me, which slows down the reading.

‘The time is 5.39am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 16.40pm.’

With the second wake up call, a thousand pin pricks whirled up and down her left arm making her fingers twitch and muscles spasm.

I would use the name rather than 'her'
  ‘I hate you, I hate you. I HATE YOU,’ spat Kerry and banged her wrist against the edge of the bed with every word. She’d heard that if you hit your chip in just the right place you could have five minutes more before it reset. Everyday she tried. Everyday she failed.

To me, the combination of caps and 'spat' is overkill. Every day here is two words, but I'm sorry I find the repetition long-winded.

‘The time is 5.40am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 16.40pm.’

With the third wake up call the pain in her arm intensified. ‘Ouch. Enough. Did I tell you I hate you yet?’ Kerry kicked of the covers and fell to the floor with all the grace of a corner drunk.

You are already spelling out the wake up call so why say the second and third? It holds things up for me and I find it frustrating. I would have stopped reading by now as I have a short attention span, sorry.
‘The time is blah, blah, blah,’ mocked Kerry. , it wouldn’t stop up until she scanned in. (Don't understand that sentence)

 Stumbling around in the half light she banged her arm against a the fogged (?) window and waited for the outside beams to register her presence.  She pressed her forehead against the glass and stared into the pulsating red streets. It’s almost pretty; she thought and allowed herself to fall under its hypnotic spell.


I don't understand what the 'its hypnotic spell refers to, do you mean the streets? If so, it should be 'their', if not you've completely lost me.
 Kerry jumped away from the window when the chip strip in her wrist vibrated in response to the lights.  
‘Shit,’ Kerry sucked in her breath and dug her nails into already raw skin, (why? Sorry don't follow)  ‘I really have to get this serviced.’

Kerry heard her grandmother running around the living area. Things smashed, things crashed and who knows what was thrown against the walls.  I'm sorry I really don't like the repetition of 'things' or the use of 'who knows what', it sounds lazy, and how can the reader imagine the scene?

Grabbing whatever clothes from the floor she threw them over her thermals and eased open the door that linked both rooms. Her belly sank.

I think you should be more specific than clothes and it would hlep me as a reader if you said she grabbed specific pieces of clothing - a dirty skirt or creased up dress? Her belly sank? That sounds comical, is that a well-known saying, I'm sorry - I have heard her heart sank. :)

 Her grandmother was in a tizzy, charging around in her underwear with a wooden spoon in her hand.

I think it would have more impact if you used a stronger word than tizzy and made it plain earlier she wore nothing but her knickers/bra/petticoat - what was the underwear like? I feel I need these details to make sense of what's happening.

Kerry closed the door and assessed her grandmother’s mood, ‘Morning Gram, did you loose something?’ Lose not loose?


‘I can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere. Where is it?’

As this isn't the answer tot her question, to me it would make more sense to refer to this.

‘So I see’ Kerry looked at the mess, ‘let’s have some breakfast, and then we’ll both look.’
‘No, no Lauren, I need to find it now. I can’t be late; matron will be so cross.’
Kerry walked over to her tiny grandmother and placed a blanket over her shoulders, ‘Gram, look at me. It’s Kerry. Remember?’


Why say she is tiny at this point? How tiny is tiny?
‘Wha…what…who,’ Kiera McCloskey’s faded blue eyes darted all around the room, before settling on her granddaughter, ‘Oh, sorry, love, of course you are. Don’t know what I was thinking,’ she said shaking her head.

Kerry didn’t make a big deal about her grandmother’s memory lapses, but this was the third time in as many days that she’d called her by her mother’s name.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 11:53:49 AM by LindaJ »
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Nordy

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2010, 11:43:31 AM »
Thanks Amanda and Linda - When the baby goes to bed I'll get working on your suggestions :) I appreciate all the time you took over this and will update later with the changes. Glad you liked the scene. xxx

Offline cswillson

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2010, 03:42:24 PM »
Sticking her hand into the icy room she felt around the various shoes, books, clothes until she found what she was looking feeling or searching for.
C.S.

FWIW, YMMV, EIEIO

Nordy

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2010, 03:47:27 PM »
Doh! So obvious when someone points it out - thanks CS - I didn't see that obvious error

Offline cswillson

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2010, 03:55:50 PM »
Mr. Obviousman, that's me, unless it's my own stuff.

I picture this in a "Bladerunner" setting. Am I correct?
C.S.

FWIW, YMMV, EIEIO

Nordy

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 04:52:57 PM »
CS - That's exactly what someone at my writing class said. The funny thing is I've never seen it. I've downloaded it so I must watch it.

Here's the revised piece. I think I got most typos and made the suggested changes. Apologies for any errors. Linda and Amanda, you're critiques really helped. I've kept in the three wake up calls, I'm trying to let the reader see that the more you ignore the sirens the worse it becomes. In time I will probably take them out.


Curfew Control sirens echoed though the dark, deserted streets.
‘The time is 5.38am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 4.40pm.’

Kerry Adams couldn’t believe it was sunrise. She wasn’t ready for the day and wanted to stay under the blankets where it was safe.  Sticking her hand into the icy room she felt around the various shoes, books, clothes until she found what she was searching for. Swinging her boot with a practised aim she threw in it the direction of the opening shutters, ‘I hate you’, she yelled at the siren hovering outside, ‘one of these days I’m going to find you and rip out your wires.’

‘The time is 5.39am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 4.40pm.’

With the second wake up call, a thousand pin pricks shot up Kerry’s left arm from the chip in her wrist making her fingers twitch and muscles spasm.  ‘I HATE YOU.’ Kerry whacked her wrist against the edge of the bed. She’d heard that if you hit your chip in just the right place you could have five minutes more before it reset. Everyday she tried. Everyday she failed.

‘The time is 5.40am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 4.40pm.’

With the third wake up call the pain in her arm intensified. ‘Ouch. Enough. Did I tell you I hate you yet?’ Kerry kicked of the covers and fell to the floor with all the grace of a corner drunk.

‘The time is blah, blah, blah,’ mocked Kerry. If she waited another minute the pain would be unbearable and it wouldn’t stop up until they knew she was awake.  Stumbling around in the half light she banged her arm against the cold window and waited for the searching red beams to register her presence.  She pressed her forehead against the glass and stared into the pulsating light. It’s almost pretty; she thought and allowed herself to fall under their hypnotic spell. Kerry jumped away from the window when the chip strip in her wrist vibrated in response to the lights.  
‘Shit, that really hurt,’ Kerry sucked in her breath and dug her nails into her skin, ‘I really have to get this thing serviced.’

Kerry could hear her grandmother yelling and running around the living area. She grabbed yesterday’s grubby jeans and a heavy red jumper from the floor and threw them over her thermals. Easing open the door that linked both rooms Kerry’s heart sank. Her grandmother was deranged. She was charging around in her bra and knickers with a wooden spoon in her hand.
Kerry closed the door and assessed her grandmother’s mood, ‘Morning Gram, looking for something?’
 ‘The thingmy, you know the whatsitsname. I can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere. Where is it?’
Kerry looked at the mess, ‘I’m not sure Gram. Let’s sit down for a minute, and then we’ll both look.’
‘No, no Lauren, I need to find it now. I can’t be late; matron will be so cross.’
Kerry walked over to her grandmother and placed a blanket over her shoulders, ‘Gram, look at me. It’s Kerry. Remember?’
‘Wha…what…who,’ Kiera McCloskey’s faded blue eyes darted all around the room, before settling on her granddaughter, ‘Oh, sorry, love, of course you are. Don’t know what I was thinking,’ she said shaking her head.

Kerry didn’t make a big deal about her grandmother’s memory lapses, but this was the third time in as many days that she’d called her by her mother’s name.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 05:13:09 PM by Nordy »

Offline Linda Aitchison

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 05:05:30 PM »
I wish I had half your imagination. I hope you aren't apologising to me! :) I think this version is much better and I think the last line would have more impact if you started it with 'This was...'

There are a few things throughout I would change in the hope of maintaining pace but that doesn't mean I am right and you are wrong. Look forward to reading more, good luck.  

Sorry - meant to say are streets dark at sunrise?

Take care.
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Nordy

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2010, 05:19:45 PM »
Thanks Linda - case of a full stop in the wrong place. I think I was trying to apologise for missing anything you suggested - I thought all your suggestion were fab.

With the location the streets would still be darkish at dawn - will use a different description. 


Offline Socom

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2010, 06:01:15 PM »
Nordy,

This is a critique of your revised version:

=====================

Curfew Control sirens echoed though the dark, deserted streets. (good. Nice and short, yet it draws the reader's attention)
‘The time is 5.38am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 4.40pm.’

Kerry Adams couldn’t believe it was sunrise--she wasn’t ready for the day and wanted ("wanted" is weak, IMO. try "yearned". Also, I think the flow of the paragraph is improved with the addition of a dash.)to stay under the blankets where it was safe.  Sticking her hand into the icy room, she felt around the various shoes, books, and clothes until she found what she was searching for. Swinging her boot with a practised aim, she threw in it the direction of the opening shutters, ‘I hate you’, she yelled at the siren hovering outside, ‘one of these days I’m going to find you and rip out your wires.’ ("hovering"? You chose the words for your piece and I take them literally. Is this some type of robotic device floating in the air, resembling a bot from Star Wars? If so, then that's fine. If not...I suggest you change the wording, IMO)

‘The time is 5.39am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 4.40pm.’

With the second wake up call, a thousand pin pricks shot up Kerry’s left arm from the chip in her wrist making her fingers twitch and muscles spasm (this sentence is a tad clumsy. Read this out loud: "shot up...from the...in her...making her...twitch and spasm. I suggest you rephrase and combine two similar thoughts with a semicolon).  ‘I HATE YOU.’ Kerry whacked her wrist against the edge of the bed (edge of the bed? Where I'm from, a bed consists of box springs and a mattress set atop a decorated frame. Hitting "the edge of the bed" implies she's hitting the edge of the mattress...which would be quite soft (hopefully). It's not clear that she is hitting her hand against something hard) . She’d heard that if you hit your chip in just the right place you could have five minutes more before it reset. Everyday she tried. Everyday she failed. (good)

‘The time is 5.40am, Monday, January 5th 2060. Current temperature: minus fifteen. Curfew is at 4.40pm.’

With the third wake up call the pain in her arm intensified. ‘Ouch. Enough. Did I tell you I hate you yet?’ (Either the "ouch" or the "enough" needs an exclamation mark, IMO)Kerry kicked of the covers and fell to the floor with all the grace of a corner drunk.

‘The time is blah, blah, blah,’ mocked Kerry (good). If she waited another minute the pain would be unbearable and it wouldn’t stop up until they knew she was awake.  Stumbling around in the half light, she banged her arm against the cold window and waited for the searching red beams to register her presence.  She pressed her forehead against the glass and stared into the pulsating light. It’s almost pretty; she thought and allowed herself to fall under their hypnotic spell. Kerry jumped away from the window when the chip strip in her wrist vibrated in response to the lights.  
‘Shit, that really hurt,’ Kerry sucked in her breath and dug her nails into her skin (where did she dig her nails? scalp? belly? toes? You see what I mean...), ‘I really have to get this thing serviced.’

Kerry could hear her grandmother yelling and running around the living area. She grabbed yesterday’s grubby jeans and a heavy red jumper from the floor and threw them over her thermals (who? Your previous sentence referred to two females). Easing open the door that linked both rooms, Kerry’s heart sank. Her grandmother was deranged. She was charging around in her bra and knickers with a wooden spoon in her hand.
Kerry closed the door and assessed her grandmother’s mood, ‘Morning Gram, looking for something?’
 ‘The thingmy, you know the whatsitsname. I can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere. Where is it?’
Kerry looked at the mess, ‘I’m not sure Gram. Let’s sit down for a minute, and then we’ll both look.’
‘No, no Lauren, I need to find it now. I can’t be late; matron will be so cross.’
Kerry walked over to her grandmother and placed a blanket over her shoulders, ‘Gram, look at me. It’s Kerry. Remember?’
‘Wha…what…who,’ Kiera McCloskey’s faded blue eyes darted all around the room (good way to introduce her eye color), before settling on her granddaughter, ‘Oh, sorry, love, of course you are. Don’t know what I was thinking,’ she said shaking her head.

Normally, Kerry didn’t make a big deal about her grandmother’s memory lapses, but this was the third time in as many days that she’d called her by her mother’s name.

==========================

Reality Check: Once the "red light", whatever that may be, scans her and moves on, what stops her from going back to bed?

Telling vs showing: I did not detect any major instances of "telling"

Feeling: I have a feeling this is what the world will be like in less than 30 years ;) I get a dark, futuristic, technical feel from your piece. I know it's a vague answer, but your question was equally ambiguous;)

Interesting :)
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 06:29:38 PM by Socom »
"May God forgive me for the time I've wasted"
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"God never panics"
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"This too shall pass"

Nordy

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2010, 06:09:37 PM »
Cheers Socom - will get working on it tomorrow. As always, I enjoy reading your critiques  :)

Offline Socom

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Re: 560 words revised. All critiques welcome
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2010, 06:30:55 PM »
Cheers Socom - will get working on it tomorrow. As always, I enjoy reading your critiques  :)

Nordy:

Regarding my "edge of the bed" comment: I believe you should substitute in either "bed frame" or "headboard"--either of those two will work since they are, for the most part, universally hard.  ;)
"May God forgive me for the time I've wasted"
----------
"God never panics"
----------
"This too shall pass"