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toddm
March 1st, 2012, 04:06 AM
It was the kind of nighttime weather in which people enjoy to be outdoors: warm, with a light and steady breeze. The sidewalks were full of couples and clumps of twenty-somethings, chatting casually and laughing, reveling under red and blue neon enchantment.

Colin had seen her there several times before, always with a lively band of girlfriends, and he was quite smitten with her: the sweet mirth of her laughter, her bright eyes, the sheen of her mocha-brown hair, her slender shoulders; he even thought her teeth looked charming when she smiled and talked. He had never spoken a word to her, but he felt certain she knew he had noticed her; she had caught him staring in her direction on a couple of occasions, setting his heart pounding.

That night in early July, he took leave of his boisterous pals and slowly strolled over in her vicinity. He pressed around a noisy crowd gathered just behind her, and drew close to where she was standing. He could smell the fragrance of her hairspray and light perfume, and saw the very fluttering of her eyelashes when she laughed.

Her blue eyes flashed briefly over to him. His heart thumped.

She diverted her eyes back to him with a small warm smile, her pale-pink lips pressed gently together. But before he could smile back, she had turned her attention again to her circle of friends.

He wandered back to his own friends, who were oblivious to his plight, but he heard nothing of the foolishness that he was certain they were speaking among themselves.

He was aware of nothing except for the lingering vision of that sweet girl's eyes when she had smiled at him.

He considered going back over and actually talking to her, but he could not think of any winsome words to say. He would basically have to interrupt the conversation she was having with her friends. He feared that they would all look at him in ridicule - unless he could come up with some engaging wittiness, which he felt totally bereft of at that moment.

She and her friends soon moved on and, despite his breathless hopes, she did not look back towards him as they walked away.

He resolved to make a bolder attempt to meet her next time. The ache in his heart demanded it.

However, although he returned to Fourth Street on many Friday nights throughout that mild summer, he never saw that exquisite girl again.

Chaeronia
March 1st, 2012, 12:21 PM
It was the kind of nighttime weather in which people enjoy to be outdoors: warm yet balmy balmy means warm, so might be tautological, with a light breeze. The sidewalks were full of people: couples and clumps of twenty-somethings, chatting casually and laughing, reveling under red and blue neon enchantment. Really nice imagery.

Colin had seen her there several times before, always with a lively band of girlfriends, and he was quite smitten with her: the sweet mirth of her laughter, her bright eyes, the sheen of her mocha-brown hair, her slender shoulders this is the third list you've given us (weather, sidewalks, the woman) so perhaps be wary of repetitious styling; he even thought her teeth looked charming when she smiled and talked. He had never spoken a word to her, but he felt certain she was aware that he had taken notice of her this is a little clunky - 'but felt certain she'd noticed him noticing her'; she had caught him staring in her direction on a couple of occasions, setting his heart pounding.

That night in early July, he took leave of his boisterous pals and slowly strolled over in her vicinity. He pressed around a noisy crowd gathered just behind her, and drew quite beware of 'quite'; it usually weakens prose close to where she was standing. He could smell the fragrance of her hairspray and light perfume, and saw the very fluttering of her eyelashes when she laughed. This sentence is less pithy and effective than the ones immediately before and after. 'He smelt her hair (hairspray seems too... chemical?), her perfume; saw the fluttering of her eyelashes when she laughed.' And if you're describing him smelling and looking I think you need a little description on how this makes him feel - otherwise it's just him analysing her.
Her blue eyes flashed briefly over to him. His heart thumped. Perfect.

She diverted her eyes back to him with a small warm smile, her pale-pink lips pressed gently together. But before he could smile back, she had turned her attention again to her circle of friends.

He eventually wandered back over to his own friends 'He wandered back to his friends', who were oblivious to his plight, but he heard nothing of the foolishness that he was certain they were speaking among themselves.

He was aware of nothing except for the lingering vision of how that sweet girl's eyes sparkled when she had smiled at him. Again, a little clunky.

He considered going back over and actually talking to her, but he could not think of any winsome words to say. He would basically have to interject himself into the conversation she was having with her friendsand they would all likely turn and look at him in ridicule - unless he could come up with some engaging wittiness, which he felt totally bereft of at that moment. Again, this feels bloated. 'He considered going back; realised what that would entail: He would have to dive right in, interrupt her. Her friends would look at him and then at each other. There would be terrible silence and he'd have to fill it. With something clever.'

She and her friends soon moved on and, despite his breathless hopes, she did not look back towards him as they walked away.

He resolved to make a bolder attempt to meet her next time. He had to.

However, although he returned to Fourth Street on many Friday nights throughout that mild summer, he never saw that exquisite girl again.

It's a nice piece, though a little saccharine in places. You could extend and heighten the melancholic ending to counter this.

The bloke's heartache, his longing, comes across strongly, and I like how it goes unrequited and he misses his chance. But I think you lose some of the drama with an overuse of words. Trim back the 'hads', 'woulds' and 'coulds'; be a bit more punchy with your description.

Your use of certain words - boisterous, winsome, wittiness - lends an innocent, old-fashioned feel. This suits the tone of the piece but I found some of the language a little twee.

Considering I'm probably not your target audience for a piece like this (far too stone-hearted for all this romance frippery), that you held my attention and kept me engaged is a pretty strong testament.

toddm
March 1st, 2012, 04:31 PM
It's a nice piece, though a little saccharine in places. You could extend and heighten the melancholic ending to counter this.

The bloke's heartache, his longing, comes across strongly, and I like how it goes unrequited and he misses his chance. But I think you lose some of the drama with an overuse of words. Trim back the 'hads', 'woulds' and 'coulds'; be a bit more punchy with your description.

Your use of certain words - boisterous, winsome, wittiness - lends an innocent, old-fashioned feel. This suits the tone of the piece but I found some of the language a little twee.

Considering I'm probably not your target audience for a piece like this (far too stone-hearted for all this romance frippery), that you held my attention and kept me engaged is a pretty strong testament.

I really appreciate your comments and suggestions, many of which I will use - This is outside my normal vein, and frankly I feel it is a bit too "Young Adult fiction" in places (is this what you meant by "twee"?) The guy is supposed to be in his mid twenties, so I don't want it to sound adolescent -

I agree that many of the sentences are clunky, chunky, wordy - over-explaining, trying to make things clear - I need to trim and make it all more fluid - thanks for your help

---todd

EDIT: Ok, I made a few changes - thanks again!

Chaeronia
March 2nd, 2012, 12:15 AM
I really appreciate your comments and suggestions, many of which I will use - This is outside my normal vein, and frankly I feel it is a bit too "Young Adult fiction" in places (is this what you meant by "twee"?) The guy is supposed to be in his mid twenties, so I don't want it to sound adolescent -

I agree that many of the sentences are clunky, chunky, wordy - over-explaining, trying to make things clear - I need to trim and make it all more fluid - thanks for your help

---todd

EDIT: Ok, I made a few changes - thanks again!

Hi Todd. First off, I meant to say that I hope you don't mind me rewriting sections of your creation. I don't mean to provide alternatives; it's done just to help explain my meaning, my opinion. Which, when it comes down to it, means almost nothing.

When I say some of the language is twee, I really just mean old-fashioned, a little anachronistic. More innocent than young-sounding. (A man in his early to mid-twenties seems about right.) Words like boisterous and winsome take the writing out of the contemporary, or at least my version of it, but that's just an observation, not a criticism. As I say, it fits the piece's genteel overtone.

My personal preference would be for the ending to play out more. Describe him retreading his steps a few times; his hope and nervous fear of meeting her; that hollow feeling - mostly disappointment but possibly some relief too? - when he decides to call it a night. In the end there's defeat: she's gone and he's missed his chance. One of life's little crossroads traversed, left behind but not forgotten.

In years to come - with a loving wife, two kids and another on the way - it still might be: what if... just what if?

toddm
March 27th, 2012, 01:55 AM
Hi Todd. First off, I meant to say that I hope you don't mind me rewriting sections of your creation. I don't mean to provide alternatives; it's done just to help explain my meaning, my opinion. Which, when it comes down to it, means almost nothing.

When I say some of the language is twee, I really just mean old-fashioned, a little anachronistic. More innocent than young-sounding. (A man in his early to mid-twenties seems about right.) Words like boisterous and winsome take the writing out of the contemporary, or at least my version of it, but that's just an observation, not a criticism. As I say, it fits the piece's genteel overtone.

My personal preference would be for the ending to play out more. Describe him retreading his steps a few times; his hope and nervous fear of meeting her; that hollow feeling - mostly disappointment but possibly some relief too? - when he decides to call it a night. In the end there's defeat: she's gone and he's missed his chance. One of life's little crossroads traversed, left behind but not forgotten.

In years to come - with a loving wife, two kids and another on the way - it still might be: what if... just what if?

No offense taken, and I really appreciated your input - helped quite a bit, thanks!