Author Topic: For One night Only (1670 words)  (Read 6820 times)

Pale Writer

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 05:34:34 PM »
One would first think so, but not really. Revising an old piece of writing is difficult, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Since this piece was found and quickly touched up, your old writing ways still are attached. Because the whole story, as I said prior, was written in that old way. That another notices the difference from how a new piece is written by you, shows that your improvements are there.

Again, this is how I see writing.

Offline protekme

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2014, 02:13:29 PM »
Hi Clarius,

I will only review this short piece because I feel you don't particularly appreciate my critique. I'll give it a try anyway. 


William noticed her before she got on the train, while she was (still) (?) standing on the platform, waiting for the train to come to a halt, not because she was pretty, although she was, in her own goosey (?) way, quite pretty, but because she was, like him, holding a book.

The whole scene explains in three different ways—in one breath—when he saw her: 1) before she got on the train, 2) while she was still standing, 3) waiting for the train to come to a halt. The structure is complicated and reads heavy. And 50 words, without the use of one period, could be avoided. Also, there is too much distance between the verb “noticed her” and the reason “not because she was pretty . . .”


When William saw her, she was standing on the platform, waiting for the train. He noticed her, not because she was pretty—although she was, in her own way—but because she was holding a book.


« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 02:16:53 PM by protekme »
-- People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others 
-- I have made this letter longer than usual only because I had no time to make it shorter
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Offline Elly Stu

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2014, 10:11:05 PM »
Ok, I've been encouraged to participate more and I'm getting brave and doing so here -- just your luck, Protekme  ;)

I said before that I really enjoyed this story.  I have considered the other posts and even agree with some of the finer points they brought out.  Overall, though, I still like the story a lot and in particular the way its writing sets the tone and time.

I understand what you are doing, Protekme.  I can be quite a dandy word snipper myself.  However, your sentence is simply of a totally different flavour.  It reminds me a bit of reporting.  To me it just won't work here unless this entire piece is rewritten in that same flavour.  And that would ruin a large part of the charm of the piece.  Yes, it might be properly written and in shorter form.  But it would not be the same piece.

My feeling is that if Clarius wants to prune a bit, fine.  But I hope he doesn't take it to extremes.

Cheers  :)
Elly




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Offline lan

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2014, 04:00:29 AM »
Although I enjoyed the overall flow, I did notice the repetitions and circumvolved phrases such as “You know I never had a daughter of my own, but if I had have done I would have liked her to have been just like you.” Which made my eyes cross.

Also, when the two characters converse, it feels too much like the writer taking turns as one or the other. As a result, both of them sound like the same person with the sole difference that one is also introspecting.
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Offline Poggy

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2014, 07:17:23 PM »
As a newbie I'm not really the most competent person to offer a review other than to say that I found the dialogue a little hard to follow at times , but perhaps that is down to my inexperience, I found William and Sarah most intriguing in so much that a friend-ship was established within such a few words, she certainly wasn't shy, in all a very pleasant read but I'm not drawn to that type of Genre so perhaps I am somewhat biased towards murder mysteries.
Mike

Offline Clarius

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2014, 05:09:56 PM »
I've removed 280+ words. Is this editing or hacking?

   William noticed her before she boarded the train, in that pause between its stopping and the doors opening. She was holding a book, one finger marking her place, and he thought she might be interesting. He watched her make her way down the carriage, rejecting one seat after another, until she came to where he was, alone at the back of the train.

   “Excuse me.” She indicated the empty seat. “But would you mind terribly if I were to sit here perhaps?”

   “No, please…” He began to rise from his seat and his book slid from his lap and landed at their feet.

   She sat down, crossed her ankles, leant over and picked up the book. She glanced at the cover as she handed it over then drew it back to herself and examined the dust jacket.

   “I’m sorry,” she said, “but is this the first edition?”

   She handed him his book.

   “Thank you, Miss?”

   “Harding, but please, call me Sarah.”

   He extended his hand. “William, and yes it is.”

   They shook hands and each settled in.

   “Are you in the trade?” he asked.

    “Gosh no,” she replied and laughed. ”I’m an actress, or would be if someone would give me a break.” She smoothed her skirt. “My father’s in the trade actually. I help him out sometimes, when I’m living at home.” She nodded at the book. “I think Daddy knew the author, they were up at - together.”

   “Really,” William replied. “Perhaps he and I knew each other. I was up at – the same time as -.”

   “Daddy read chemistry.” She smiled. “He wanted to study classical literature but grandfather made him take science. I suppose he wanted his only son to follow him into general practice.” She sighed. “Mother says the shop is Daddy’s way of getting his revenge, wasting his inheritance on something grandfather would despise.”

   “It’s a dreadful thing not to be free to follow your heart,” William said. “I myself read classical literature while I was up at - , your father and I might well have become friends.”

   “Are you a writer?” she asked.

   He shook his head. “Me? Good heavens no. I am –was - a school master. I retired at the end of last term.”

   “So pleasure then?”

   “Pardon me?”

   “Your going down to -?”

   His smile was a fragile thing and did not touch his eyes. “An old nag’s last trot round the pastures where a young colt once galloped.”

   Each glanced away from the other and the conversation might have finished there had she not broken the silence by inquiring if his wife were travelling with him.

   He fingered his wedding band. “I’m afraid my wife passed last year.”

   “Oh… I’m so sorry.”

   “Thank you.”

   They fell back into silence until she, feeling obliged to say something, nodded at the book resting on his lap.

    “Did you know the author?” she asked.

   “Only by reputation; he was one, no… two years my senior.”

   She laughed. “And quite a reputation it was by all accounts. I believe he was actually sent down, some scandal involving another undergraduate?”

   “I perhaps recall hearing something.” One wrinkled hand, his free left hand, stroked the hand holding the book. “People didn’t talk about such things back then. These matters were generally brushed under the carpet. One only heard about them second hand; through rumour and gossip… and the gutter press.”

   She leant forward, glanced about herself, and, her eyes bright, asked. “I’ve heard it said that there was a club of sorts, a terribly decadent place by all accounts, with cabaret performed by fellows who liked to dress in… ladies’ apparel.”

   “I believe such places existed, but they were very discreet, known only to their clientele”

   She giggled. “Why William, I do believe you’re blushing.” She leant closer and lowered her voice. “Tell the truth now and shame the devil.” She licked her lips. “Did you ever go that shameful place? Is that were you misspent your gilded youth?”

   “I believe I may have been there once perhaps, only on that one occasion you understand.” He cleared his throat. “Chaps were always organising stag outings and a place such at that would have been considered quite daring.”

   “Were you there when the police closed it down?”

   “No, that was another night entirely, a long time after I’d been there.”

   “Father thought it terribly unfair the way the establishment closed ranks about their sons and threw – to the dogs. I mean really, imagine fellows betraying someone like that, simply because he was a scholarship boy.”

   “You must understand Miss… Sarah, it was a very different moral climate back then. One could, and indeed still can, be sent to the gaol. One only has to look at Pitt-Rivers and Wildeblood.”

   “Still,” she said. “It was rather unfair wasn’t it; sending one chap down and letting the others off?”

   William looked out of the window. Free? Free to live a life in chains. To be forced to enter into a barren sham of a marriage to save the face of two families. Shackled for mutual convenience to your own cruelly used cousin, a shrew of a woman driven to despair by the loss of her stillborn bastard? Free to eke out a living as a housemaster in a provincial public school, teaching classics to the ignorant offspring of the not-quite-rich-enough for a decent education middle classes?

   He turned away from the window, turned back to face his companion. “One might rather suspect that, with the benefit of hindsight, and the shifting moral climes, many would contend he was the one who was free; free to live his life in the open, free to be the man he wanted to be.”

   “Well, yes…” She coughed. “Quite right, I suppose.” She glanced out the window then smiled to herself and looked back at him. “So what other books have you read then?”

   They talked at length as stringers will, of everything in general and of nothing in particular, and discovered they had much in common; agreeing that television would never replace radio, differing over whether rock and roll would supplant jazz.

   Open countryside gave way to suburban sprawl  and progress slowed as traffic from the feeders congested the main lines and the frequency of way stations and volume of passengers increased.

   At the terminus both waited until their fellow passengers had disembarked before giving up their seats. Sarah, only down for the day and having no luggage, was happy to help her companion lift his suitcase down and carry it out for him.

   She held out her hand. “Well, goodbye then.” She nodded at his book. “I’ll be sure and tell Daddy that there’s at least one first edition left in the country.” She smiled. “He will be jealous.”

   “You know I never had a daughter of my own, but if I had I would have liked her to have been just like you.”

   “Why, William,” she replied. “That’s very sweet of you. Now look,” she flapped her hand across her eyes, “you’ve gone and made me cry, and quite ruined my mascara, you silver tongued old devil.” She wiped the corner of each eye with a slender gloved finger. “Bless you.”

   William proffered his book. “I thought perhaps you might rather like to have this.” He shrugged. “I’ll understand if you don’t want it for yourself but…” and, his eyes twinkling, “as a present from you to your father perhaps?”

   She looked at the book as she considered his offer then put her hand to her breast and looked up at him. “I couldn’t possibly accept such a gift, not from someone I’ve only just met.”

   “I’d like you to have it,” he said. “I’ve read it many times.” He paused then added. “I shan’t read it again.”

   She took it from him. “Thank you.” She stooped over and kissed his cheek. “Goodbye, William,” she said. “I shan’t forget you.”

   “Nor I you,” he said.

   She turned away from him then and, as she walked across the concourse, she opened the book and read the inscription on the title page. To William. My own immortal beloved. Always and forever. Patrick.

   She turned back to confront him. “It was you all along, wasn’t it? You were the…”

   But he gone from her, lost amongst the heaving throng.

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Pale Writer

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2014, 06:08:38 PM »
*modified to correct wording*

I'm off to watch Band of Brothers in a moment but wanted to come in for a look before I go. Right off I have to say that I like this opening better. Both still would have captured me as a reader, but this one focuses on them as individuals more and so felt tighter. Well done.

Of course we all have opinions as critiquers. Each with their own style of saying things, so what I say from here on out is simply put - just another opinion - that's all.

Quote
  William noticed her before she boarded the train, in that pause between its stopping and the doors opening. She was holding a book, one finger marking her place, and he thought she might be interesting. He watched her make her way down the carriage, rejecting one seat after another, until she came to where he was, alone at the back of the train.

It is good to be aware of your pronouns. If possible remove, if not - don't. But you want to try to go right to the border.

He watched her moved down the carriage, rejecting one seat after another.....

To state 'her make her way' - she can only move herself down the carriage if alone - which she is. So though 'watched' filters the action, it works best when focused directly on her. That she is selective, shows a hesitation, a move from one seat to another, and such. You could use one or the other - make her way - or - rejecting one seat after another - because they both show that hesitant movement, that building of their meeting. But when you use both, it becomes less focused and the filter doesn't work as well.

Again, as is, I had no problem. I'm just discussing another way and trying to explain.

Quote
“No, please…” He began to rise from his seat and his book slid from his lap and landed at their feet.

In a way you pacify this action because of the order on which you present.

"No, please..." His book slid from his lap as he began to rise. It landed at their feet.

I can assume he is seated, because he is watching her approach, and she indicates to a seat I can assume next to him. The order is mostly because of the focus, now at this moment it is not so much as his movement, but the books, because it leads forward to the next event - falling at their feet and so setting up the next scene. As you have it now, he is more in focus and then the book. There are two important actions here that make one scene. I used a full stop to separate them to show them individually in importance. I believe a longer pause helps.

Again, just another way.

***

All in all - this is extreme fine tuning - and again - just my opinion. This has definitely improved.

pale

« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 06:52:23 PM by Pale Writer »

Offline 510bhan

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Re: For One night Only (1670 words)
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2014, 06:22:32 PM »
I enjoyed the original well enough but this is tighter and still retains a period feel so if I hadn't prior knowledge, I'd be just as happy reading this.

“Father thought it terribly unfair the way the establishment closed ranks about their sons and threw – to the dogs. I mean really, imagine fellows betraying someone like that, simply because he was a scholarship boy.”

I think there needs to be a 'person' of some sort in here, even if not named -- sounded funny to me when reading it as if you forgot to put in the name rather than a 'blank' from the character. JMO ;)

 “I believe such places existed, but they were very discreet, known only to their clientele”  <<- full stop missing.