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Vendetta5885
September 25th, 2014, 08:32 PM
A little piece that I have been working on....

One thing I have been struggling with (among other things) is conversational flow without being too repetitive in the writing. I think this is my best example of my progress so far.

Any advice would be helpful!




Elijah stood on the pier and overlooked the Acushnet River just as he had every night for the past two weeks. The ringing of a ship’s bell off in the distance grabbed his attention as he scanned the river hoping to find a sign of the Escanaba, the ship his brother is on.
“Any sign of him yet, Elijah?” Asked Leland.
“No. His letter said that he would be here by Christmas, but that was two months ago. He could be anywhere.” He responded.
“He’ll be fine, there is still time before Christmas and he’s on one of the best ships in New Bedford.” Leland reassured him.
“Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, the ocean doesn’t know that or care for that matter.” He replied. “So what are you doing away from your tavern at this time of the night Leland?”
“Samuel is tending bar this evening. I am meeting a client who is scheduled to be arriving shortly.” He said with an air of self importance.
Elijah scanned the river again.“What sort of dealings will this character have you doing? I doubt anything more absurd than your last one.” Elijah said with a smirk. “Who was that last client, or barbarian rather, that had you transporting boars heads to his flat by the dozen?”
“If I spoke ill of my clients, it would not be good for business.” He said with a wink and a grin. “But yes, this Mr. Dorin Alexandr is certainly unique. He’s traveling from the other side of the world, queer way of life over there.”
“The perfect fit for a city like this one. The more ships and sailors that come, the stranger and stranger this beautiful city gets.” Elijah said.
“Well, that certainly is a pessimistic view, my friend. Embrace the strange, like I have… It’s a business opportunity! Also these people aren’t nearly as outlandish as you think.” He lowered his voice and leaned in closer as if he was sharing a deep secret. “I am fairly busy with the tavern and all, so how about we reach an agreement? Once Mr. Alexandr settles into his new home, I put you on for a quick and easy job here and there. Give yourself a chance to see not all these people are as strange as they appear on the surface.”
“Well, only if its quick and easy… And as long as I don’t have to transport pig heads or anything of the sort I would welcome the opportunity.” Elijah said. “It is possible that I may be prejudiced afterall and extra money never brought anyone harm.”
“Thats the spirit, my friend! I will get in touch with you when Mr. Alexandr is all settled. Speak of the devil, I believe that may be him!” Leland said as he began moving with a sense of urgency. “Have a wonderful night!” He shouted over his shoulder.
The wind picked up and the snow began to fall. Elijah turned his back to the river and walked up Union Street towards his home.

Plasticweld
September 26th, 2014, 02:35 AM
Colin I read your intro in the "Introduce Yourself" section, which sheds some light on your writing style. I envy your technical ability, your piece is very good technically but reads rather dry. Your dialog does not contain any slang, or real sense of emotion. I re-read it twice trying to better explain this and still seem to lack the words to do it correctly. More feeling is I guess the best I can do, I can not picture someone really speaking as you wrote your sentences. I hope this helps. Welcome to the forum looking forward to getting to know you...Bob

Hemian
September 26th, 2014, 06:42 AM
As far as the dialogue goes, it does read quite awkwardly. It may be helpful to read this out loud to see where and how it is awkward. One thing to keep in mind is that dialogue does not need to be grammatically correct, or proper sentence structure, etc. It is better to focus on readability, realistic speech, and character development. The way the characters talk should be in some ways different from each other, and unique because of the character's background -- less uniform. It seems like these characters are somewhat close to each other based on the questions Leland asks, so they so not need to speak so formally.

Just some things to think about...

Phil

Will Lee
September 26th, 2014, 11:06 AM
The content of the dialogue was interesting and I can see the potential there but the way that it was presented, the way you decided to word the dialogue, was dry and close to technical and not practical. I think adding some more flavor to the dialogue where it really seems like people are speaking would really help. I get what was being said but it seemed almost like two robots talking to each other. Hope this helps but keep going because you have an interesting story here

Jean Bathurst
September 26th, 2014, 02:17 PM
I agree with the other posters.​ Feels a bit stiff. But I like the boars heads being delivered by the dozen. That's nice and weird. It's got atmosphere and feels full of potential. More hinting at what the story is, more emotional elements. Took a pass at editing it; hope you don't mind, to bring in some of what the others were talking about. Just suggestions.
cheers,
Jean



Elijah stood on the pier overlooking the Acushnet River, just as he had every night for the past two weeks.

A ship’s bell rang in the distance, grabbing his attention.

He scanned the river, hoping to find a sign of the Escanaba, the ship his brother is on.

“Any sign?” asked Leland.

Elijah shook his head. “No. Letter said he'd be here by Christmas. That was two months ago.”

“Still time. He’s on one of New Bedford's best ships.”

“Ocean don’t know that. Or care for that matter," groused Elijah. “Anyhow. What're you doing away from your tavern this time of the night?”

“Samuel's tending. I am meeting a client,” Leland said with an air of self importance.

Elijah scanned the river again. “What sort of dealings? Can't be madder than your last one,” chortled Elijah. “Who was that last client? The barbarian had you transporting boars heads to his flat by the dozen?”

“Ah, Elijah, my friend. Wouldn't be good for business if I spoke ill of my clients," said Leland with a wink and a grin. “But yes, this Mr. Dorin Alexandr is certainly unique. Traveling from the other side of the world. Queer way of life over there.”

Elijah scowled. “Perfect fit for a city like this. More ships and sailors that come, the stranger it gets."

“Embrace the strange, like I have… It’s a business opportunity! They aren’t nearly as outlandish as you think.” Leland lowered his voice and leaned in close, as if he was sharing a deep secret. “I'm fairly busy with the tavern and all, so how about we reach an agreement? Once Mr. Alexandr settles into his new home, I put you on for a quick and easy job here and there, eh? Give yourself a chance to see these people aren't as strange as they seem.”

“If its quick and easy… And as long as I don’t have to transport rotting pig heads.” Elijah said. He gave his bristly chin a rub. “Extra money never brought anyone harm.”

“Thats the spirit, my friend! I'll get in touch when Mr. Alexandr is settled. Speak of the devil: I believe that may be him!” Leland said, and headed off down the pier. “Have a wonderful night!” He shouted over his shoulder.

The wind picked up and snow began to fall.

Elijah turned his back to icy river and walked up Union Street towards his home.

Vendetta5885
September 26th, 2014, 06:50 PM
Thanks all! I really appreciate the input. Looks like I have to break away from the textbook style writing... Haha.

Jean, I loved the edits, thanks for taking the time! Just those few changes definitely made it a lot more readable and showed me what I can do with the writing to make it seem more alive, much appreciated!

Needless to say, I think I need to take a trip to the dialogue thread....

Thanks again!

Jean Bathurst
September 27th, 2014, 04:55 PM
My pleasure! glad they were helpful.

"Looks like I have to break away from the textbook style writing... Haha. "

You sound like me shortly after graduating from university. The professors pummeled rules into our heads endlessly. They have their place, but shouldn't be elevated above content. Or reader enjoyment.