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Hopscotch
January 12th, 2014, 03:08 PM
*SWEARING*

Hi - Ive been trying a few different styles and... well lets just say mixed results!

I'm trying to put more dialouge in it.

1) What do you think?
2) If you have read any earlier pieces - is this more compelling?
3) Is there anything you feel does not work?
4) Any sentances that you think are superflous or need chopped down?

Cheers - start:

Jacob banged through the doors. He stopped and surveyed the room. It was long and thin, a bar ran its length, covered in riveted steel. A mirror decanted bright house lights. Stools topped with torn leather frayed with age populated the floor. A cloying smell hung in the air of a floor bleached too many times and not being left to dry. A shithole.

A woman spun on her stool, she looked up; one puppy dog eye, the other marked and smothered in makeup, “Hello.” She said. From lipstick red shoes tights laddered up to thigh meat, languidly exposed. Somebodies mother, somebodies sister.

“Not today,” he walked past. The perfume she wore was the same as his first girlfriend. It somehow made her less attractive.

She muttered and spun back to her lonely drink.

He saw who he was looking for, glanced at her. She watched him back through the tail of her eye. She’s early he thought.

He placed a hand on the bar and leaned like a badly made shack. He knocked the bar with a fist. The Barkeep looked at him and blinked. “Yes worker, what would you like?” his voice a dial tone. Another one, they are everywhere.

“Milk, please.” Not used to polite conversation. The words came out like a viscous liquid forced through a tiny tube. His milk came quick in a shot glass.

He made his way toward the woman. She was hunched over her drink. She wore layer upon layer of thick jumpers, a well-fed mishmash of colour. Stray fibres of the coarse wool hung like microscopic worms eking outwards.

He pulled a stool out. Not too near, not too far, “weather rough?” She asked not looking up from her drink.

“Cold” He said and sat. Crushed, air was forced from the stools cap, a somewhat pleasing sound as he deflated into comfort.

The pair sat astride. Stealing glances in the bar mirror. They were studies in isolation, separated by few words.

He necked the shot, felt the cool milk trickle down his throat, felt for the moment at least a little clean. “And again,” he gestured to the Barkeep, he poured. Fucking machine thing he wanted to rip its throat out.

He looked round; four people were in the bar, the old whore with a beady eye on the door, himself, the barkeep and Marta the woman he was pretending not to know. The woman I do know.

“Clean Friesian, Worker.” The Barkeep produced a gum filled smile, probably learnt from a manual Jacob thought.

“Go away.” He said. The Barkeep, idiotic grimace still in place, turned and went. Jacob watched him leave, under a spotlight translucent he tottered. Blue veins spidered under his milky flesh. He moved with a child’s gait, balanced a tray of freshly washed glasses, and made his way with the practiced ease of a drunk’s walk home. Jacob shook his head and sneered into his tiny glass, he’d never get used to them.

“I didn’t pay Jesus this month, guess what happened?” Marta said quietly not looking at him. He stopped, drink about to fall into the hole of his mouth.

“What?” He said unable to hide the anger in his voice. Did she not understand the danger they were in?

“Parking ticket,” she laughed into her drink, a little splashed onto the bar. She’s drunk he thought. “JC always gets his ten per-cents.” She stole a glance at him, caught him eyeing the drop of spilt liquid. “Relax I’m not drunk,” she said echoing into her glass as she took another mouthful, “its non-alcoholic, called a Dakari, a non-alcoholic Dakari. No boozing in my condition.” She smiled.

“Look, we need to get to the room. Not together.” He said keeping his voice calm and flat.

“Ok and…” She replied still playful.

“I’ve booked it for a week. Longer than that and we will have to move.” He said still trying to keep the anger at bay. How could she be so blasť?

“Don’t worry. We won’t need longer than a week. I have drugs, we can induce if needed.” Her voice was now cold, like his. She is scared. Jacob was filled with a love for Martha, a compassion that was a physical pain in his chest tearing him apart, it took all his strength to not put a protective arm around her and squeeze her tight. All his anger evaporated like dew under the morning sun.

“Would you look at this?” She touched the bar with her fingers, playful again. Jacob looked; the bars metal had been etched by the patrons. His vision followed her finger and he saw among the peni and crude vaginas the words ‘long live King Ludd’, obsessively crossed out.

She looked at him theatrically wide eyed “Who would do such a terrible thing?” He looked back at her and smiled the pretence of foreignness gone.

“I wouldn’t know.” ‘King Ludd’ had been substituted for ‘King Cock’, and a rudimentary king with a cock for a crown was drawn. Jacob appraised the sketch, bright silver lines cut into dull metal, not without its merits he thought.

Abita
January 12th, 2014, 09:04 PM
Overall, I thought the writing was good, but I'd recommend proofreading a few times just for grammar. The missing apostrophes and commas and whatnot became distracting.

You asked about superfluous sentences, and I think your instinct is right on. The description after every line of dialogue slowed things down; try giving us some quick lines of dialogue and action, and follow that with some description if you still think it adds to the scene. If anything, I'd limit your descriptions to only one sentence or so after each spoken line - otherwise, by the time I've finished the description, it's hard to get back into the scene when the next character speaks.

For example, instead of...

“Go away” He said. The Barkeep, idiotic grimace still in place, turned and went. Jacob watched him leave, under a spotlight translucent he tottered. Blue veins spidered under his milky flesh. He moved with a child’s gait, balanced a tray of freshly washed glasses, and made his way with the practiced ease of a drunk’s walk home. Jacob shook his head and sneered into his tiny glass, he’d never get used to them.

“I didn’t pay Jesus this month, guess what happened?” Marta said quietly not looking at him. He stopped, drink about to fall into the hole of his mouth.

“What?” He said unable to hide the anger in his voice. Did she not understand the danger they were in?


...how about something like:
“Go away” He said. The Barkeep, idiotic grimace still in place, turned and went.
“I didn’t pay Jesus this month, guess what happened?” Martha said quietly, not looking at him.
"What?" He was unable to hide the anger in his voice. He'd been watching the barkeep, eying his spider veins with annoyance, but his full attention was on Martha now. Did she not understand the danger they were in?

Re-look at the areas where you have a lot of descriptive lines one after the other, and decide which ones you really need. He describes the barkeep as "idiotic", so his feelings are pretty clear from that line alone.

Also, I thought things started to get more interesting toward the end. If you introduce us to Martha, her "condition", and hint at their plight earlier on, the reader will be pulled in sooner and be more invested in the characters.

Hope this helps!

Hopscotch
January 13th, 2014, 12:06 AM
Hey thanks very much for your crit.

ah the advice on not too many descriptive lines is very interesting. I belive you may be right! This will help no end in the learning process- thankyou so much for pointing this out!

notre dame
January 14th, 2014, 09:58 AM
Hello Hopscotch. I read the earlier version of this scene and I think this is definitely an improving picture. I have to agree with some of the grammar points: 'somebody's mother, somebody's sister,' for example. I find your writing style quite poetic and refreshing for that! For instance 'under a spotlight translucent he tottered' and blue veins 'spidered under his milky flesh.' Your descriptions are instantly visual and vivid, and I think would benefit from being interspersed with the dialogue in short lines - a course I was attending a while back warned 'beware the info-dump, my friend' so perhaps more of the info-drip - first the Barkeep's voice - then maybe your MC is distracted/irritated by something else the Barkeep does in between the interaction with Marta and you can drip a little more?

This has the makings of an intriguing opening and I look forward to following what comes next. I would love to see something unpleasant happen to the Barkeep, by the way. Now that you have the thing described, and we're aware of how much Jacob despises it, let's bring that dislike to a conclusion!