7.31.2005

Is it Crap?..part 4

More brave snarklings step up to the plate.


Trina kept to a quick, purposeful stride as she moved away from the house she'd hit. Anyone watching would think her an apprentice sent on some important task. They couldn't hear her pounding heart or feel the damp sweat coating her palms.


The first stentence pulls me in.
The second sentence makes me want to hit you with a hammer.

"anyone watching-they couldn't" takes the story away from an intimate sense of me right there with Trina, to feeling like a part of a removed, very much larger audience. I look for writers who craft work that sucks me right in to the tale and make me feel I"m there as it happens.

Look at the difference when you keep us WITH Trina:

Trina kept to a quick, purposeful stride as she moved away from the house she'd hit. She wanted anyone watching to think she was only an apprentice sent on some important task.





She hadn't taken everything, just enough to feed her family and buy two more weeks worth of medicine for her mother as long as Fence paid a fair price.


This is a very long sentence when you are trying to buld tension. I'd put it in the middle of the next paragraph too. That keeps the tension building instead of taking time out for a news bulletin.





Glancing around, she wiped her hands down her trousers, drying them. The jewelry rested in a hidden pocket under her tunic. No one would find it by accident.


When it's rewritten, see the difference:
Trina kept to a quick, purposeful stride as she moved away from the house she'd hit. She wanted anyone watching to think she was only an apprentice sent on some important task.

The jewelry rested in a hidden pocket under her tunic. No one would find it by accident.She hadn't taken everything, just enough to feed her family. Food and two weeks worth of medicine for her mother --as long as Fence paid a fair price.


Her pace slowed as she swung by the chain-link fence surrounding Ceric's only spaceport. She ran her fingers along the metal links, enjoying the faint ticking sound. In the distance, a spaceship roared to life. It leapt off the
surface in a bright flash of light, followed by a roll of thunder louder than the strongest summer storms.


Here''s the clearest contrast between what you're writing, and what I'd look for:

You: Her pace slowed as she swung by
Me: She slowed her pace as she swung by


Trina stopped.

She stared at the ship until it became a backward shooting star in the light of day. Her gaze pinned on the fading light, Trina forgot about the jewelry burning a hole in her chest and about the possibility of pursuit. Though the doctrine told her machines would steal her soul, still the sky drew her.

She'd taken the test. Everyone had one chance to join the space guilds as part of the contract between spacers and colonies; one chance based solely on their abilities.



This is genre writing and as such it is doubly difficult task. Not only does it need to be well written, it has to observe the forms. Like haiku. Like schooling figures in ice skating. Like dressage.

This would be a no from me.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the breakdown. It's interesting to see your reaction and I'll have to ponder it. What I saw as lyrical, you see as passive. I'll rewrite it totally "she" focused and see what I think then.

I appreciate the time you took with this and sorry to disappoint :).

Miss Snark said...

no disappointment at all!!
You think Stephen King was birthed from the womb writing perfect prose?? not hardly. (See his wonderful book On Writing)

I respect your willingness to take risk.

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

I came back with the horrible feeling that I had failed to reply to your encouraging words (which it turned out I had) and got completely sucked in to reading all the cover letters. This has been illuminating and enjoyable. Thank you so much for doing these analyses. Even though I already had my moment in the sun with the first page, I'm learning from the breakdown of other cover letters.

Thraesja said...

Way too late to be of any use to anyone, but I wanted to put in my two cents.
I agree with Miss Snark's assessments and editing suggestions; they improve your work.
I also wanted to say that as a regular reader of this genre, I liked your first page and hope you get it published as I would like to see where it is going.