Author Topic: New: Hopefully final revision: first half ch 1: The Occasional Mistress  (Read 12647 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Hi, people - anything helpful please. Appreciate your time. Thanks  :)

This is the revised version [563 words now]...any better???  ??? ??? ???

There is a new revision now that is 1728 words in box 62 [incorporating the continuation that was up in another post]]

     “From dust we are made, unto dust we return,” said the minister with sombre tone as he ceremoniously strew crumbly earth into the hole containing Joseph William Kilpatrick. The words sounded hollow to her.
    
     July 22nd was the day he had died. July 23rd had been the last day of term. July 24th, circled in sun-faded ink on Louise Kilpatrick’s kitchen calendar, was her fortieth birthday. She hadn’t anticipated her birthday party would be replaced by her husband’s wake. Her clammy hands fidgeting with the order of service made an ugly dog-ear on the paper that confirmed she was a widow.  
    
     Mourners at the graveside tried to ignore their sweat and discomfort in the oppressive heat, regretting their decisions to adopt the conventional black ensemble. The sombre occasion had commanded tradition be observed and Louise noted the ladies, in their immodest Little Black Dresses, disguised the summer profusion of inappropriate lace, straps and frills with dark winter coats. She smiled inwardly, thankful for their respect and looked at their partners. The men, in lightweight suits, winced as collars and ties pinched their swollen necks, more used to polo shirts on such a day. Throughout the ceremony Louise, her son and her daughter stood stony faced. Their stoicism was poorly disguised. Each set of hands with interlaced fingers agitatedly opened and clenched to settle their trembles. Louise wished she wasn’t there and folded back the corner of the paper again.
  
     Much of the ritual passed in a blur for Louise. Only intermittent strobe-like moments had been consciously captured by her worried mind. Her attention was spent on her feelings of sorrow, loss, confusion about the future and concern that the day’s events should run smoothly. However, her concentration was compromised and trying to focus on responsibility and respectfulness as the reality of the day was proving difficult in such apparently surreal surroundings. Her mind drifted from the funereal monologue and she looked skyward for inspiration. She was struck by how beautiful a summer’s day it was. The sky was unusually cloudless, the sun dominated the blue expanse above, its rays shone down hard on the bleached grass beneath and bounced back in a shimmering heat haze. It occurred to her that this wasn’t the scene for a funeral! There should be bright colours peeping through barbeque smoke, laughter and music should be dancing on the air. Louise was conflicted with thoughts of the party, planned with her husband and the solemnity of the here and now. Damn you J-dub!  
  
     A tug on her elbow brought her back. Gravesiders were beginning to move toward her. They offered condolences instead of birthday greetings and remarked on the moving eulogy delivered by her son. Louise noticed the guests looking at her. They had a look of anticipation upon their faces as if they were expecting her to do something, but just quite what, she couldn’t imagine. Marjorie, her mother-in-law, joined her and Louise realised she was expected to lead them back to the house.
    
     Marjorie! She must feel wretched.  She’s just buried her son and she’s only a recent widow herself. The jolt of another’s pain made Louise step outside her own emotions and spurred her to function more effectively. With a weak smile, she offered her arm to support Marjorie as they walked to the cars in a silence resonant with unspoken sorrow and tangible regret.


:) :)
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 09:54:20 PM by 510bhan »

Tempered

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2010, 05:02:26 PM »
Hello 510 - I was wondering when you'd post a piece

I listen to music when I critique - one of my favourite is Avril Lavigne - The Softer Side

on with the review. If you don't mind I will comment on the story at the very end. I will try to be brief(I know good luck the way I ramble)

You wrote:

Chapter One: The Occasional Mistress
   
    “From dust we are made, unto dust we return,” said the minister with sombre tone as he ceremoniously strew crumbly earth into the hole containing the body of Joseph William Kilpatrick.

     July 22nd was the day he had died. July 23rd had been the last day of term. July 24th, circled on Louise Kilpatrick’s kitchen calendar, was her fortieth birthday. She hadn’t anticipated her birthday party would be replaced by her husband’s wake.


okay, anything I say/suggest is just another writer's views. They don't mean anything has to change, sometimes my writing eyes try to change a story to how I'd write it, and that is wrong of me to do so. it is something I mean to change but change is slow if done right. So I apologise in advance if it appears such is the case, feel free to disregard.

...into the hole containing Joseph William Kilpatrick  - I say rid 'the body of' because it can be presumed. and I think makes the moment harsher.

'...hadn't anticipated her birthday.... - 'anticipated' to me felt odd, because of its association to her husband's wake.

*had* I think they call it past perfected when it is used in a past tense story. Still remember to control them or they stand out too much. In a way, the act of that circle I wanted on all the dates, maybe different colours, maybe the last being slightly faded as to show that date had been planned for a while when the others were new.

You wrote:

Mourners at the graveside tried to ignore their sweat, uncomfortable in the oppressive heat, regretting their decisions to adopt the conventional black ensemble. The sombre occasion had commanded tradition be observed so ladies, in their immodest LBDs, disguised the summer profusion of inappropriate lace, straps and frills with dark winter coats. The men, in lightweight suits, winced with discomfort as collars and ties pinched their swollen necks, more used to polo shirts on such a day. The widow, her son and her daughter looked no less uncomfortable but their emotional chill left them untouched by the soaring temperatures as they trembled through the ceremony, blotting at silent tears.

I wanted to use 'discomfort' vice uncomfortable, because the 'uncomfortable' feels like a condition, and though I know you mention that they wished to have worn something better, it is not shown. I dont' know, it just seemed off to me.

I have no idea what LBD is (long black dresses)? the thing about acronyms is they are not always well known. The idea of 'winter coats' and in a way I know this is me, but winter coats are so thick and mid-summer gawd I can't even picture it, probably because in canada they are so thick.

The one thing that grabbed my eyes here was the use of 'comfort' as a root word. it is done a few times too many, but easily fixed. i can see you wish to show the comparisons to comfort but i think a better way could be used.

'emotional chill' - I sort of like that idea but feels like a cold shoulder vice loss. 'death's chill' ? unsure

i think the chill and tremble are enough to show their sorrow. to be honest I think writers use 'tears' / 'eyes' far too much to cover emotions spent.


You wrote:

Much of the ritual passed in a blur for Louise. Only intermittent strobe-like moments had been consciously captured by her worried mind. Her attention was spent on her feelings of sorrow, loss, confusion about the future and concern that the day’s events should run smoothly. However, her concentration was compromised. Trying to focus on responsibility and respectfulness within the reality of the day was proving difficult in such apparently surreal surroundings. Her mind drifted from the funereal monologue and she looked skyward for inspiration. She was struck by how beautiful a summer’s day it was. The sky was unusually cloudless, the sun dominated the blue expanse above, its rays shone down hard on the bleached grass beneath and bounced back in a shimmering heat haze. It occurred to her that this wasn’t the scene for a funeral! There should be bright colours peeping through barbeque smoke, laughter and music should be dancing on the air. Louise was conflicted with thoughts of the party, planned with her husband and the solemnity of the here and now. 

Nice first lines - sets her mood, shows hours how they pass when in this situation. I especially liked that she thought about her birthday, how instead of sorrow she still, deep down, had another loss to contend with, the loss of her birthday. How the sky stood out.

very nice all around.

You wrote:

A tug on her elbow brought her back to the immediate present. Gravesiders were beginning to move toward her. They offered condolences instead of birthday greetings and remarked on the moving eulogy delivered by her son. Louise noticed the guests looking at her. They had a look of anticipation upon their faces as if they were expecting her to do something, but just quite what, she couldn’t imagine. Marjorie joined her and she realised she was expected to lead them to her mother-in-law’s house.

...brought her back.  - 'to the immediate present' I think could be removed for two reasons. one it really isn't needed, to bring back says the same because she was gone to another time, to bring back would be the present, and also because of the word 'present' association to birthday of which she was just thinking about.

Marjorie joined her. - in a way I wanted the explanation to end there instead of being told. In the next para you bring more of who Marjorie is, so then I can attach that same loss to her, understand when you say that they would go to her house.

You wrote:

It suddenly struck Louise that Marjorie had lost a son and as a recent widow herself, had no one to turn to in her despair. Louise, panged by guilt and empathy, felt her mother-in-law’s grief manifold. The jolt of another’s pain made her step outside her own emotions and spurred her to function more effectively. Louise offered her arm to support Marjorie as they walked to the cars. Although the service was over, the silence remained, resonant with unspoken sorrow and tangible regret. Momentarily, she thought of her husband, her dead husband, J-dub.

...had no one to turn to.  - don't over tell what can be easily understood. Remember the words you wrote before have set up the situation, so let them do their magic.

..Louise, panged......grief manifold' - to be honest this felt like it could be removed. if continued with 'the jolt...' it brings the two of their pains together as one, where you separate them first with that 'panged statement'

...although the service was over, the silence remained.  - let your words show, don't feel the need to explain them, they are strong as they are.

********

I enjoyed this piece. I found the characters believable, the pain realistic and I thought the added thoughts drifting to her birthday showed exactly how the mind in this situation drifts, that we do such things.

thanks for the read

*****
Oh, the reason I bold peoples' words is because to remind them that their words are more important than my opinions, so keep that in mind :)


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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2010, 05:06:52 PM »
Thanks for the advice - this the poor creature's first airing so I'm expecting quite a few moths and bits of dust to be shaken from it, just hope some of the fabric remains!

Tempered

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2010, 05:08:45 PM »
lol, remember, I'm just a writer like you, so what I had to say is easily disregarded :)

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2010, 05:12:11 PM »
Cheers! Quite like 'anticipation' duality because it was something she was looking forward to the big 4-0 party. Perhaps might get that across better if I phrased it differently:

She hadn’t anticipated that her husband’s wake would replace her birthday party.???

Tempered

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 05:14:03 PM »
I think its the 'anticipate' to me hints at something positive, but i'm sure others will voice their thoughts. I'm a bit strange in the mind

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2010, 05:27:28 PM »
Edited Version

     The Occasional Mistress
     “From dust we are made, unto dust we return,” said the minister with sombre tone as he ceremoniously strew crumbly earth into the hole containing Joseph William Kilpatrick.
     July 22nd was the day he had died. July 23rd had been the last day of term. July 24th, circled in sun-faded ink on Louise Kilpatrick’s kitchen calendar, was her fortieth birthday. She hadn’t anticipated her birthday party would be replaced by her husband’s wake.
     Mourners at the graveside tried to ignore their sweat and discomfort in the oppressive heat, regretting their decisions to adopt the conventional black ensemble. The sombre occasion had commanded tradition be observed so ladies, in their immodest Little Black Dresses, disguised the summer profusion of inappropriate lace, straps and frills with dark winter coats. The men, in lightweight suits, winced as collars and ties pinched their swollen necks, more used to polo shirts on such a day. The widow, her son and her daughter looked no less uncomfortable but the chill of loss left them untouched by the soaring temperatures as they trembled through the ceremony.
   Much of the ritual passed in a blur for Louise. Only intermittent strobe-like moments had been consciously captured by her worried mind. Her attention was spent on her feelings of sorrow, loss, confusion about the future and concern that the day’s events should run smoothly. However, her concentration was compromised and trying to focus on responsibility and respectfulness as the reality of the day was proving difficult in such apparently surreal surroundings. Her mind drifted from the funereal monologue and she looked skyward for inspiration. She was struck by how beautiful a summer’s day it was. The sky was unusually cloudless, the sun dominated the blue expanse above, its rays shone down hard on the bleached grass beneath and bounced back in a shimmering heat haze. It occurred to her that this wasn’t the scene for a funeral! There should be bright colours peeping through barbeque smoke, laughter and music should be dancing on the air. Louise was conflicted with thoughts of the party, planned with her husband and the solemnity of the here and now.  
   A tug on her elbow brought her back. Gravesiders were beginning to move toward her. They offered condolences instead of birthday greetings and remarked on the moving eulogy delivered by her son. Louise noticed the guests looking at her. They had a look of anticipation upon their faces as if they were expecting her to do something, but just quite what, she couldn’t imagine. Marjorie, her mother-in-law, joined her and Louise realised she was expected to lead them back to the house.
     It suddenly struck Louise that Marjorie had lost a son and was a recent widow herself. The jolt of another’s pain made her step outside her own emotions and spurred her to function more effectively. Louise offered her arm to support Marjorie as they walked to the cars in silence, resonant with unspoken sorrow and tangible regret. Momentarily, she thought of her husband, her dead husband, J-dub.

Tempered

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2010, 05:29:54 PM »
did you know I'm grring at you now? wait wait wait til others comment lol I'm just one writer, not a need for change :P

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2010, 05:32:45 PM »
Snarly snarly back atcha! If and when someone offers more advice - I'll take it on board. As it turns out I happen to agree with what you suggested - fresh eyes and all that.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2010, 05:58:04 PM »
Hey 510, you set the stage quickly with your opening line. I think that helps focus the reader on what mindset they need to get into. Even with all the grave side scenes that have been written, I believe your's is unique enough that chiche' is not a factor here.

The second time you mention the lost party, maybe if you bumbed up her grief for ... say missing their usual dancing and or something he would have said, this might bring out missing him more instead of having a slight flavor of her main focus being on her party.

As you know spelling and grammar are not my strong points so I cannot be of any help there.

Anyway ... you gotta tell me about how the title of this piece works into the mix.  ;D

Skip

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2010, 06:14:00 PM »
She tests the water again - as far as relationships are concerned - doesn't want to settle permanently with another..no one can replace J-dub and after a disappointing one-night stand embarks on a relationship with a married man that is mutually convenient..hence the occasional mistress


She does have to focus on the party because in a paragraph or two she dwells on the last time he saw her..getting it all organised...when you read the next instalment it should fit okay I think.

Thanks for reading - appreciated.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2010, 06:41:34 PM »
This has emotional play written all over it.  ;D

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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2010, 09:51:24 PM »
I'm quite enjoying reading it over but seriously ticked off to discover I've lost the last 5 chapters with trips to laptop hospital.  >:( >:( >:( >:( Ah - well they could probably do with rewriting anyway! At least I remember their direction, just have to familiarise myself with the players and their timing - all quite critical in the revenge reveal. Will have to read it all again - would have be so much easier just to have had the damned chapters. C'est la vie. :)

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2010, 10:34:27 PM »
If you saved them as individual chapters, look in your documents file for possable copies. maybe-maybe?

Offline irallan

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Re: Opening for The Occasional Mistress 537 words
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2010, 11:20:10 PM »
Hey Siobhan, I got a feel of a woman not quite accepting of her situation yet. The full reality of the death of her husband not fully sunk in. The birthday party comes across like an anchor to her , as the last thing planned together with her husband as if it sort of keeps him alive still. Maybe, I think..regards..Iain
"You can take the boy out of the country...."