Author Topic: First Paragraph  (Read 19616 times)

Offline Kendrick

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #45 on: November 24, 2010, 07:41:38 PM »
Here are a few wordcraft observations, minor stuff:

“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

“Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.”  
This sentence goes off the rails just a little.  It sounds as if the sinuous heat ribbons are like slumbering beasts.  And I’m not sure how heat waves define subtly.  

“I was already sitting”
Don’t see why ‘already’.  Is it early to be sitting there?  Same with “already turning gray”.  If he’s middle-aged, gray would seem normal.  (I understand there was some discussion of the hair already).   Also, “The maple…was already a beautiful golden color…”  You said the leaves were turning, so it seems normal that the leaves were golden.  Could just cut that ‘already’.  

“He worked, unofficially of course, since he was underage, with his uncle at Barczak Cement.”
Bothers me a little to have the ‘of course’ before the reason for the ‘of course’.   This might be better as two sentences.  

Aside from those details (probably already mentioned by others): I do want to know what the deal is with Albert.  You have me wondering.  Hope you’ll post more.  That makes this successful writing
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 07:50:52 PM by Kendrick »

Offline herron

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #46 on: November 24, 2010, 08:38:54 PM »
Hello

take a lot at the number of 'his' and 'old' you have in the first part of this section

you wrote:

He stood with his hands firmly on his hips and stared past the collection of dents and rust on his old Chevy toward the old Cantwell place. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. He just stood with sunglasses perched on top of his head, chewing a toothpick and staring at that old white clapboard house. I smiled as I thought: Hello, Toothpick Man.

GOOD POINT   ;)

is there a way to thin them down.

MAYBE   ::)

Nice way to add to the character, I almost wanted to put his body shape in, like a toothpick, all lanky, just to type his new nick better.

You wrote:

The woman shook her head in disgust and marched up onto the Cantwell porch, followed by two kids. One a little boy, younger than us; one a pretty dark-haired girl I guessed was near our age. Getting out last was another boy. He had an unruly mane of auburn hair that looked as if it had been sheared with a mower. He must have been asleep in the hot car as one side of his hair stood straight up in large cowlick, while the rest was plastered rather darkly to the side of his head. He looked like an angry clown.

     He was also about our age, solidly built with massive arms and a thick neck. By size alone he looked like a worthy opponent for Puz, only without the belly. He spotted us, fixed us with a glare and stomped over, his gait almost a carbon copy of the Toothpick Man’s swagger.


I like the description. In a way wanted to see "He looked like an angry clown.' before his description. so I have a starting point that something strange is coming, but its a direction. The 'mane' I'm unsure of because of the sheared with a mower, I think the 'sheared' is a stronger image, where 'unruly' can hold the first image well enough with the colour.

The 'age' mention, all those comparisons was a bit much. is it important if only one was not their age enough to mention it at all? so don't overwrite.

ANOTHER GOOD POINT. ONLY ONE OTHER OF THE "KIDS" IN THE CAR IS MENTIONED AGAIN (EXCEPT ABERT, OF COURSE). WILL HAVE TO COGITATE ON THIS ONE A WHILE.  8) 


But I like these two segments, interesting characters  THANKS :)

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Offline herron

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #47 on: November 24, 2010, 08:51:47 PM »
Here are a few wordcraft observations, minor stuff:

“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

I THINK IT COULD BE AVOIDED, BUT I WAS LOOKING FOR A QUICK STATEMENT, WITHOUT MUCH EMBELLISHMENT HERE.  SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT.  :-\ 

“It was my first teenage summer, one of life’s great transitions.” ??


“Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes like so many slumbering beasts.”  
This sentence goes off the rails just a little.  It sounds as if the sinuous heat ribbons are like slumbering beasts.  And I’m not sure how heat waves define subtly.  

HOW ABOUT...
“Sinuous heat ribbons shimmered over the motionless freight cars, subtly defining their rusty shapes AS IF THEY WERE SO many slumbering beasts.” 

(AND I TAKE IT YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HEAT RIBBONS OVER FREIGHT CARS)
  ::) :D

“I was already sitting”
Don’t see why ‘already’.  Is it early to be sitting there?  YES ... MEANT TO IMPLY EARLY AM...OBVIOUSLY NOT STRONGLY ENOUGH  :-\  Same with “already turning gray”.  If he’s middle-aged, gray would seem normal.  ?MAYBE  ??? (I understand there was some discussion of the hair already).   Also, “The maple…was already a beautiful golden color…”  You said the leaves were turning, so it seems normal that the leaves were golden.  Could just cut that ‘already’.  YES. GOOD EYE (OR IS THAT EAR?)   ;D

“He worked, unofficially of course, since he was underage, with his uncle at Barczak Cement.”
Bothers me a little to have the ‘of course’ before the reason for the ‘of course’.   This might be better as two sentences.  

YOU MEAN LIKE -- "HE WORKED WITH HIS UNCLE AT BARCZAK CEMENT. UNOFFICIALLY, OF COURSE, SINCE HE WAS UNDERAGE."
Aside from those details (probably already mentioned by others): I do want to know what the deal is with Albert.  You have me wondering.  Hope you’ll post more.  That makes this successful writing

Glad you're wondering.  ;)  Thanks.
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2010, 09:11:21 PM »
HI - it's great to have fresh eyes look over a piece and it is interesting to see how others see things.

Just like to say I disagree with some of Kendrick's comments..because:

I think the repetition of 'first' in this case is important - to the tone of the piece, the narrator's voice and to how much this 'first' means to a teenager. [Would have thought any reader would have picked that up...and I'm not normally a fan of repetition unless it's relevant or for deliberate effect]

No trouble with the sinuous heat ribbons - they can only define things subtly because they're hazy and the comma makes it clear it's the rusty cars that are the slumbering beasts.

JMO - as usual :) :) :-*

Offline KenFP

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #49 on: November 24, 2010, 11:46:46 PM »
“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

I see your point Herron. Why not

"It was my first teenage summer and my life's first great transition"

which is just two words more but now makes the word 'first' important and connected to both phrases rather than just redundant repetition which I think is Kendrick's point.

:)

Ken

Offline herron

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #50 on: November 25, 2010, 10:17:17 AM »
“It was my first teenage summer, life’s first great transition”
 Any way to avoid using ‘first’ twice?

I see your point Herron. Why not

"It was my first teenage summer and my life's first great transition"

which is just two words more but now makes the word 'first' important and connected to both phrases rather than just redundant repetition which I think is Kendrick's point.

:)

Ken

I appreciate the critique but still think, on this point anyway, that it stands as it was.  The whole point of it was to illustrate, as 510bhan points out, how important that time was to a "new" teenager. I'll still consider the options, but like it best (so far) in its original form.

Thanks for the read.  ;)
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Tempered

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #51 on: November 25, 2010, 10:23:08 AM »
lol now you all have me looking at that sentence :P

do you need 'and my life's first great transition'

the fact that the mc mentions it was his 'first teenage summer' hints at the transition from another summer prior, that something has changed, otherwise, why mention the teenage at all.

we go through puberty and it is understood that transition takes place.

Hard to say. could be just a matter of style and preference :)

Offline herron

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #52 on: November 25, 2010, 10:26:06 AM »
lol now you all have me looking at that sentence :P

do you need 'and my life's first great transition'

the fact that the mc mentions it was his 'first teenage summer' hints at the transition from another summer prior, that something has changed, otherwise, why mention the teenage at all.

we go through puberty and it is understood that transition takes place.

Hard to say. could be just a matter of style and preference :)

Exactly.   ;)
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #53 on: November 25, 2010, 10:28:02 AM »
lol now you all have me looking at that sentence :P

do you need 'and my life's first great transition'

the fact that the mc mentions it was his 'first teenage summer' hints at the transition from another summer prior, that something has changed, otherwise, why mention the teenage at all.

we go through puberty and it is understood that transition takes place.

Hard to say. could be just a matter of style and preference :)

And on looking back with adult eyes would probably make that remark as a teenager had in fact seen it then. A wow!

I can see all the style/grammatical points but I think it is essential to the tone of the speaker/narrator. JMO :D

Offline Kendrick

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #54 on: November 25, 2010, 10:29:00 AM »
That's why they call 'em suggestions   :)

Tempered

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #55 on: November 25, 2010, 10:29:47 AM »
Exactly Kendrick :)

Offline herron

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #56 on: November 25, 2010, 10:31:21 AM »
And I welcome them all.  Thanks.   8)
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #57 on: November 25, 2010, 10:33:39 AM »
Exactly - suggestions...or opinions, all we can do.

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #58 on: November 25, 2010, 11:01:40 AM »
I always have to push myself to remember that the story I'm reviewing is not written in my voice, so I shouldn't try to change it. I especially find that in YA stories which have a voice based on experiences that are outside my time-frame of 'growing-up' so my perception is different, wording is different. I learn a lot for different styles, many have opened my eyes to other ways.

So, I like the voice here, probably said that before. I'm still learning to critique.

Offline herron

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Re: First Paragraph
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2010, 02:48:52 PM »
I always have to push myself to remember that the story I'm reviewing is not written in my voice, so I shouldn't try to change it. I especially find that in YA stories which have a voice based on experiences that are outside my time-frame of 'growing-up' so my perception is different, wording is different. I learn a lot for different styles, many have opened my eyes to other ways.

So, I like the voice here, probably said that before. I'm still learning to critique.

I hate reviewing my own writing!  I am endlessly editing and nothing ever gets done!   ::) ;)
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