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BobtailCon
June 3rd, 2016, 04:22 AM
Here's some character building I've tried, just a short dab I wanted to experiment with.


In the August of 1985, Charles Bander waited outside the East Trimm Railway Line. The summer sun beat on his back like it tends to do, drawing more sweat into his jacket. The heat on the east coast made a poor man want to die, and a rich man turn up the AC.

Charles leaned against one of the many columns holding up the glass paneled ceiling, too expensive for Trimm, too poor for Washington DC. He shifted the weight onto his arm, and cringed at the dampness under his armpits. It reminded him of his childhood, the days when he could play football throughout August, ducking and dodging in the streets with no sweat to be found.

Shifting his weight, his knees creaked. As a kid, Charles could’ve fallen out of a tree with nary a scratch, now he has to swallow aspirin like tic-tacs just to bear through another meeting on distributed alarm sales. The carbon monoxide alarm business didn’t seem as fantastic as it once had. That “once had” being ten years ago, when a thick youth of twenty four was willing to take any job for an eight-thousand dollar higher salary.

A few people watched him from the corner of their eyes, clutching their purses tighter as Charles glanced over at them. They looked like they’d never seen a black man in their lives. If they’re so scared, why the hell come downtown?

Doesn’t matter. Charles thought. The alarm business is shit, but not shitty enough to steal some frightened white people’s purses.

He smirked at the thought of that.

Mermaid
June 3rd, 2016, 05:12 AM
Here's some character building I've tried, just a short dab I wanted to experiment with.


In the August of 1985, Charles Bander waited outside the East Trimm Railway Line. The summer sun beat on his back like it tends to do, drawing more sweat into his jacket. The heat on the east coast made a poor man want to die, and a rich man turn up the AC.

I feel like the second and third sentence should be switched here. In my opinion I would have wrote the second sentence ( after the comma) like, "...more sweat soaking into his jacket." I feel like it might just roll off the tongue a bit better. Otherwise I like the imagery you set up in the first few sentences.


Charles leaned against one of the many columns holding up the glass paneled ceiling, too expensive for Trimm, too poor for Washington DC. He shifted the weight onto his arm, and cringed at the dampness under his armpits. It reminded him of his childhood, the days when he could play football throughout August, ducking and dodging in the streets with no sweat to be found.

Trim not Trimm (unless that is being used as noun then proceed). I think you can take out and,in the second sentence. I feel like it just makes the sentence seem longer than necessary. I would phrase the last sentence and the last part of the sentence differently. "It reminded him of his childhood, days' when he could play football all through out August. The nuisance of sweat barely on his mind as he ducked, and dodged throughout the streets."


Shifting his weight, his knees creaked. As a kid, Charles could’ve fallen out of a tree with nary a scratch, now he has to swallow aspirin like tic-tacs just to bear through another meeting on distributed alarm sales. The carbon monoxide alarm business didn’t seem as fantastic as it once had. That “once had” being ten years ago, when a thick youth of twenty four was willing to take any job for an eight-thousand dollar higher salary.

There is a lot of back and forth with present tense and past tense. It slightly confused me but as I reread the passage I understood what you are trying to convey.


A few people watched him from the corner of their eyes, clutching their purses tighter as Charles glanced over at them. They looked like they’d never seen a black man in their lives. If they’re so scared, why the hell come downtown?

Doesn’t matter. Charles thought. The alarm business is shit, but not shitty enough to steal some frightened white people’s purses.

He smirked at the thought of that.

_____________________________

As a whole I liked this passage, the fact that you did not let your reader realize your character was black was a good setup. I enjoyed that small surprise. Although the correlation between the alarm system and stealing from white people went over my head, so for ignorant people like me, more of an explanation may be beneficial to your character building, especially since this is not in first person pov.

I did not touch on grammar because I have trouble with it, so even if you had bad grammar it would probably go over my head. haha!

BobtailCon
June 3rd, 2016, 08:49 AM
I feel like the second and third sentence should be switched here. In my opinion I would have wrote the second sentence ( after the comma) like, "...more sweat soaking into his jacket." I feel like it might just roll off the tongue a bit better. Otherwise I like the imagery you set up in the first few sentences.

Switching them around kind of ruins the punch line of "and a rich man to turn up the AC."


Trim not Trimm

It's just a made up name. Maybe here is a real town called Trim, I've never been to the East Coast, haha.


I think you can take out and,in the second sentence. I feel like it just makes the sentence seem longer than necessary........"The nuisance of sweat barely on his mind as he ducked, and dodged throughout the streets."

You had the same problem in your sentence, where the word "nuisance" seems like a filler.


There is a lot of back and forth with present tense and past tense. It slightly confused me but as I reread the passage I understood what you are trying to convey.


Is there a better way to word it? I've read the story aloud 3 or 4 times, and this part never caught me.


As a whole I liked this passage, the fact that you did not let your reader realize your character was black was a good setup. I enjoyed that small surprise.

Thanks! I always love writing from different backgrounds, and if I can keep the reader under-wraps, the better!


Although the correlation between the alarm system and stealing from white people went over my head, so for ignorant people like me, more of an explanation may be beneficial to your character building, especially since this is not in first person pov.

You're probably overthinking it, haha. All it was saying was that he didn't make a lot of money, but he made enough to not resort to stealing.

DruidPeter
June 3rd, 2016, 09:43 PM
Before I begin, I just want to say, this guy is pretty damned awesome, Bobtail. I really like him! My comments are in red.

* * *

In the August of 1985 (The year Marty Mcfly went back to the future. ;) ), Charles Bander waited outside the East Trimm Railway Line. The summer sun beat on his back like it tends to do, drawing more sweat into his jacket. The heat on the east coast made a poor man want to die, and a rich man turn up the AC. A really nice image. Clearly this guy isn't cream of society.

Charles leaned against one of the many columns holding up the glass paneled ceiling, too expensive for Trimm, too poor for Washington DC. (I like this. The image of him leaning up against a column in the train station feels like he's a fighter. Certainly not someone who will just bend over when asked. Also, the "Too expensive for Trimm, Too poor for Washington DC" speaks volumes. Wonderful.) He shifted the weight onto his arm, and cringed at the dampness under his armpits. It reminded him of his childhood, the days when he could play football throughout August, ducking and dodging in the streets with no sweat to be found. Mm. Boy, I can relate to this. <_<

Shifting his weight, his knees creaked. As a kid, Charles could’ve fallen out of a tree with nary a scratch, now he has to swallow aspirin like tic-tacs just to bear through another meeting on distributed alarm sales. The carbon monoxide alarm business didn’t seem as fantastic as it once had (This made me chuckle.). That “once had” being ten years ago, when a thick youth of twenty four was willing to take any job for an eight-thousand dollar higher salary. Ah, so he's 34 years old. That's a good age. A character is wiser and smarter at that age, but isn't so old that action stories are out of their league. This dude probably has some good fights left in him. :D

A few people watched him from the corner of their eyes, clutching their purses tighter as Charles glanced over at them. They looked like they’d never seen a black man in their lives. If they’re so scared, why the hell come downtown? O ho! And he's black!

Doesn’t matter. Charles thought. The alarm business is shit, but not shitty enough to steal some frightened white people’s purses.

He smirked at the thought of that. And... I'm sold. When does the book come out? ;)

* * *

General Remarks

Your writing style is mature and strong, and you've built a solid character upon which to build a good story. You said in your opening remarks that this was mostly just an experiment, so I won't hold my breath over seeing Charles Bander again. Having said that, I think you're a very good writer. Should you decide to actually turn this into a longer work, or even, god willing, a novel, I would happily purchase a copy from you. :D

BobtailCon
June 3rd, 2016, 11:25 PM
General Remarks

Your writing style is mature and strong, and you've built a solid character upon which to build a good story. You said in your opening remarks that this was mostly just an experiment, so I won't hold my breath over seeing Charles Bander again. Having said that, I think you're a very good writer. Should you decide to actually turn this into a longer work, or even, god willing, a novel, I would happily purchase a copy from you. :D

Thank you! While I do like my criticisms, it is very refreshing to actually see someone's thoughts about my writing. Don't get me wrong, it's helpful to receive pointers with grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. But I love to actually hear what people are thinking when reading my work. So, thank you!

By the way, nice username.

Jay Greenstein
June 4th, 2016, 05:04 AM
Character building isn't something the author talks about, it's what the character does. This, because it's in your voice, and about him, reads as if you're recording the director's cut of the film, so it can only be hearsay evidence. Keep in mind that every time you explain anything to the reader, you inform, but do not entertain. And a reader is with you for one reason, to be entertained.

“To describe something in detail, you have to stop the action. But without the action, the description has no meaning.”
~Jack Bickham

BobtailCon
June 4th, 2016, 07:33 AM
Character building isn't something the author talks about, it's what the character does. This, because it's in your voice, and about him, reads as if you're recording the director's cut of the film, so it can only be hearsay evidence. Keep in mind that every time you explain anything to the reader, you inform, but do not entertain. And a reader is with you for one reason, to be entertained.

“To describe something in detail, you have to stop the action. But without the action, the description has no meaning.”
~Jack Bickham

That just sounded like subjective blabber. There's nothing wrong with detail, nor descriptions. And the description was his recollection of memories, so though I narrated it, it's still the character's thoughts.

Grim_L
July 5th, 2016, 07:39 AM
That just sounded like subjective blabber. There's nothing wrong with detail, nor descriptions. And the description was his recollection of memories, so though I narrated it, it's still the character's thoughts.

Have you read this? It says the same as the quote but explains it more in depth maybe -

https://litreactor.com/essays/chuck-palahniuk/nuts-and-bolts-%E2%80%9Cthought%E2%80%9D-verbs