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NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 12:17 AM
Just the beginning of a larger piece . . . that I'm still working on.
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Stanley walked the streets in mid-November in a perfectly pressed jacket and tie, two thousand dollar Florsheims, and no pants. A brisk wind picked up the latest snow drifts and swirled them down the street, causing its dwellers to huddle closer to their trash can fires. A shiver wracked Stanley’s body. Things could have been worse. He could have been trapped in the 9th circle of hell being chased by a lust-starved Hagwren. This was certainly better than that. Maybe.

Stanley spied an elderly man sleeping in a narrow alleyway under several layers of cardboard. He lifted the cardboard and was hit with a stench of cheap whiskey. Was he going to be the kind of guy to steal a pair of cargo pants from a helpless bum? The pants were too small and frayed at the bottom but maybe if he was very careful ... The bum began to stir as Stanley gently tried to pull the pant legs down. Shit. He frantically tugged at the pants, but they got caught on the old man’s worn combat boots.

“Excuse me!” came a voice behind. Stanley whipped around and found three men staring at him. The man in the middle was a head taller than the other two and held a chrome pistol, loosely in his left hand.

“Hey Jimmy, you think maybe he likes ole’ men?” asked the one on his right with a few front teeth missing and spiky hair.

Jimmy slapped him in the head. “Shut up, Spike. Do you see something wrong with this picture?” He gestured towards Stanley with his gun hand.

“He ain’t got no pants?” asked Spike.

“Yeah, apparently our new friend here thinks it’s ok to steal from old Rocky.” Rocky had managed to pull his pants back up around his waist, but kept a watchful eye on Stanley.

“Ok, so how is that you have no pants but you’ve still got your shoes and socks on?” asked Jimmy.

“Would you believe I lost them in a card game?” asked Stanley. Without looking, he rotated the ring on his middle finger.

“That’s some fucking weird card game,” said Jimmy.

“You have no idea,” said Stanley. Finding the stud he depressed it.

“Enough talking. I say we plug him,” said Mr. Spikey Hair. He crossed his arms in front and attempted a few gang signs.

“What the hell is that?” asked Jimmy.

“That’s a gang sign,” said Spike.

“You ain’t in no gang, stupid, ” said Jimmy.

Stanley waved his hand in the air. A square of brilliant white light opened about the size of window. Stanley dove through and the window disappeared with a clap.

“What the . . .” Jimmy said. He spun around, looking futilely for Stanley.

Stanley watched as they stumbled over each other, trying to find him. This was just a space envelope. No telling how long it would hold. If he could just find his moonstones. He rifled through his jacket until he remembered he had left them in the back pocket of his pants. The envelope winked out. Fuck.

bdcharles
April 18th, 2017, 11:41 AM
Heh, this is quite funny, almost slightly Pratchettian. The voice could be quite comedic, and you build out the world nicely - the mention of the hagwren, for example, where you invoke something without pausing the flow to do so, is well executed. And there are some lines and dialogue that made me smile out loud (if such a thing can happen).

I think there is still work to do - you could just make the world that bit more rich and alive by having more detail; eg:


Stanley waved his hand in the air. A square of brilliant white light opened about the size of window. Stanley dove through and the window disappeared with a clap.

Juts some things like this could use a bit more; eg:


Stanley waved his hand in the air. A square of brilliant white light about the size of window opened above the gritty sidewalk, shimmering like a miniature rectangular sun. Stanley dove through and the window disappeared with a clap.

Otherwise it risks being a bit too brief and over too soon.

Also watch your dialogue tags. Lots of X asked, said Y. Vary them up a little. You have some action tags there so use them a little more maybe. Hopw this helps :)

NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 02:51 PM
bdcharles- Thanks. Excellent advice. About varying the tags. It's always been my instinct to vary a little as you suggest, but that usually gets shot down. Keep it simple, I'm told - 'said' and 'asked' primarily. Adding action is a good way to vary as well. Glad you liked it.

bdcharles
April 18th, 2017, 03:23 PM
bdcharles- Thanks. Excellent advice. About varying the tags. It's always been my instinct to vary a little as you suggest, but that usually gets shot down. Keep it simple, I'm told - 'said' and 'asked' primarily. Adding action is a good way to vary as well. Glad you liked it.

Yeah, said is generally invisible, and asked, but even that might jar if there are too many: X said, Y said, said Z. Action can just help break that up and just spread the story around a bit.

Personally I quite enjoy more vivid speech tags - I think I have the word "piffed" as a dialogue tag somewhere in my WIP - but even there there is a limit; postulated X interestedly, and all that :)

NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 04:00 PM
:D - Piffed is a new one on me. looking up piffed Ahhh, very much like pissed. Nice.

bdcharles
April 18th, 2017, 04:03 PM
:D - Piffed is a new one on me. looking up piffed Ahhh, very much like pissed. Nice.

WHAT? It exists? Blast my eyes, I'll have to rewrite absoluely everything. :O

Jamboree
April 18th, 2017, 05:45 PM
Excellent start to a piece that I hope to see more of. I definitely enjoy the wit and humour of the voice so its something you should definitely stick with.

Personally I didn't really notice the overuse of 'said and 'asked' as bdcharles is correct in that they are almost invidible. Although changing it up would occassionally wouldn't hinder the story.

I do agree however that there could be more description, particularly for Stanely and the setting. Assuming that he is going to be the main character a few mentions of detail just to start picturing him in our mind would be useful. For the setting it doesn't neccessarily have to be details on the sort of rubbish in the alleyway or people in there but a few clues that give us a sense of the time period and world that we have been thrust into.
It will also slow down the scene as well. Not in terms of what action happens but with a lot of dialogue you can just rush through the whole scene very quickly which is what happens here. Add a few more details, perhaps Stanley notices a few things about the 4 other characters as they talk. It doesn't have to be much.

Other than that you have a great voice and an intriguing start to this piece. Would like to see how it progresses :-)
Write on...

NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 06:17 PM
Jamboree- That's good advice. I'm getting quite a few requests for more detail. I'll have to work that in. Glad it worked for you. I do have an idea for at least one more post - not sure where it's heading after that. Just have to get it out of my noodle and onto the page.

Raevenlord
April 18th, 2017, 08:07 PM
Hey, Nathan! Really enjoyed the no-nonsense comedy, the lines that just lend themselves to a chuckle without being overtly written to do just that. Kudos :)

However, like others, I just find this piece is overly short, with not much happening. There is a little development on the how and the why, and there are some neat evocations of a bigger world, but we barely see that. So, just share those other things you have in store for this!

Some things I would change: lose the italics on "no pants". I think the reader will find those two words strange enough in the setting that they will give it the intonation required without you screaming at them how strange it is. It also gets a little blurry with the 'shit' and 'fuck' in italics which you use to convey the character's thoughtful expletives [emoji14]

Why does the old man have worn combat boots? Are those there just for show? Was he a veteran? How will he react? Just stay silent and watch things develop?

Just my two cents. I think bdcharles and jamboree have already given good advice with regards to some extra description that would be welcome. Especially when it comes to sci-fi and things people haven't yet seen and have no equivalent to compare it to, we have to describe things in a little more detail. Or, just let people run with their own interpretation of what your envelope should look like. Though I think it is a little on the low side on the description. Make it yours, instead of a general sci-fi trope.

And I'd like to read more :)

Jamboree
April 18th, 2017, 08:58 PM
The details will come as you develop the story then. For that I would say don't necessarily worry about coming back and editing this part just yet. As long as you can picture the scene yourself you can add the detail later. For now I would suggest just writing any ideas, scenes or parts of the story down. Start to flesh out the characters, story and world. People often get the idea or a scene and then the story follows. Just run with it, let your imagination go wild and then if you feel you have a story worth telling come back and add to the scene above. That's how I like to do things anyway. I often find I'll spend ages trying to perfect one scene or chapter and then the story fizzles out before I get past the next scene.

Do whatever works for you.
More than happy to look over any more on here or privately if you want any help.

NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 08:58 PM
RaevenLord-The removal of the italics makes sense and you're probably right. It will read better. More like tripping over your feet as you're walking. :)
Yes. More description - and it may come as a surprise - this isn't a sci-fi piece. Though you wouldn't be able to tell from the little I've given you so far.

NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 09:01 PM
Jamboree- I often get lost in the details and re-writes and I loose the 'juice'. The juice being whatever it is that keeps me writing a specific story. So continuing is not a bad idea.

Pyromanic
April 18th, 2017, 09:34 PM
Hey, this was a fairly enjoyable read,
think you did the 3rd person pretty well,
except I question whether you absolutely
need the exposition at the end of the 1st paragraph,
i think by cutting it you create more suspense
because it seems like just an ordinary event that could happen in real life,
and then BOOM, this guy opens up a magic window out of nowhere!

the reference to the 9th circle of hell tripped me up a little bit,
because it got me wondering about the world rather than focusing on
the scene...

NathanBrazil
April 18th, 2017, 11:10 PM
Pryomanic-You've definitely given me some food for thought. I'll probably move on to the next piece before I revisit the 1st, but I'll keep your suggestions in mind.

Bard_Daniel
April 19th, 2017, 03:16 AM
An interesting little snippet here. I don't have too much more to add that has not already been said but, as Jamboree has mentioned, you might want to spruce it up with a little more description. Other than that, I thought it was quite comical and I applaud you for the originality of your style. As bcharles mentioned, though, don't be afraid to add some more vivid tags to the work. I know that "said" is a good way of putting it but, hey, there's always room for creativity! ;)

Cheers! And keep on writing! : D

NathanBrazil
April 19th, 2017, 03:49 AM
danielstj-Glad you liked the style. I think the comments I received about tags are mainly about overuse. I'll definitely open up my bag of 'tags' for the next part.

Jamboree
April 19th, 2017, 02:25 PM
Yeah Nathan I know how you feel. Often when I get stuck on rewriting and never seem to be happy with it and then I get frustrated with my writing and stop for a little while rather than just leaving the part for the moment and continuing the story.

Not Sci-fi eh? Interesting. Must be fantasy then surely... Unless losing your pants is the worst horror imaginable to you ;-)

NathanBrazil
April 19th, 2017, 02:42 PM
lol - some kind of magic is involved -- to be honest I haven't worked out all the particulars

NeenaDiHope
April 23rd, 2017, 08:34 PM
So far I like it, its smart and funny, I was able to get a good visual from your descriptions of everything. I love a good story that can make me laugh! Please keep that humor going in your story.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

NathanBrazil
April 23rd, 2017, 08:39 PM
NeenaDiHope- Glad it got your funny bone. I've just finished binging "Better Call Saul". The characters are just excellent at making decisions that go against their better judgement - and putting themselves in intractable positions. And how much like real life. I'd like to bring some of that into this weird world and hopefully keep the humor alive.