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Is This Too On The Nose? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

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The very fact I'm asking this question makes me think perhaps it is but I'd like to get other opinions before I either delete it or polish it. It's not polished and only the first draft. I just want to know if it's too on the nose. For the full context you can see the opener here:

https://www.writingforums.com/threads/192438-Apparition-(Short-Story)-*WARNING-ADULT-CONTENT*

Here's the newly added section for anyone who doesn't need or want the full context:

Carmack picked up a large leather zip folder from beside him, fished inside for a few seconds and plucked out an eight-year-old copy of Vogue Magazine. He threw it on the table and thumbed through to a page with the corner turned down. Arthur watched carefully as he turned it with his palm for perusal.

“That’s you, right?” Carmack said, pointing to the picture with the heading ‘Arthur Blake: A Bright Future’.

Arthur looked at the photo and nodded. “I don’t understand what this has to do with what I’m telling you. We’re wasting time.”

“Let me draw your attention to this section.” A fat forefinger tapped at a line of text. “Just in case you require glasses, Mr Blake, let me read it for you: ‘Arthur Blake recently announced he wanted to take time away from writing articles to pursue his childhood dreams of becoming a horror writer.’ Not just any old genre, Mr Blake … a horror writer. Now, forgive me if I’m just a little bit suspicious that the person in front of me, claiming ‘they’re coming’ and ‘whispers in my head’ also has ambitions of being a horror writer. Help me out here, Arthur. You’ve got to see how coincidental this is, yes?”

“I know what this looks like and I know it sounds crazy.” He leant forward, teetered on the brink for a second and fell back into the comfort of calm he’d found. “Look … I don’t know how long we have. I was there. I saw it. I felt it. It’s coming.”
 
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Foxee

Patron
Patron
You're revealing things about the story through how you're writing the paragraph, not just writing a paragraph about a man getting a magazine out of a bag because you had to get that magazine out of the bag somehow.

Are you on the editing pass yet where you need to do really fine adjustments? The reason I ask is because sometimes doubt is a real gut instinct that you should follow up on but other times doubt is a head fake by your inner editor.

I'd suggest letting this wait if you have the time and come back to it later. While I could see a little of it being trimmed if you want, I think it shows the movements and mannerisms of both men in a good way, a storytelling way. Agree with vranger, it's a nice hook.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
You're revealing things about the story through how you're writing the paragraph, not just writing a paragraph about a man getting a magazine out of a bag because you had to get that magazine out of the bag somehow.

Are you on the editing pass yet where you need to do really fine adjustments? The reason I ask is because sometimes doubt is a real gut instinct that you should follow up on but other times doubt is a head fake by your inner editor.

I'd suggest letting this wait if you have the time and come back to it later. While I could see a little of it being trimmed if you want, I think it shows the movements and mannerisms of both men in a good way, a storytelling way. Agree with vranger, it's a nice hook.

I'm approaching mid way and I'm ready to switch the story up, so thought I'd just take a little time to go back and edit in a few things I needed to add. I recently deleted a couple of paragraphs that I thought were too info-dump-ish. I'm going through and peppering that info where I feel it fits smoothly and naturally. I've read that convo a couple of times now and I kinda like it myself. I just wondered if it was a little on the nose but that's two people now that think it's fine.

I intend to make several more passes of this when it's complete and mini passes as I'm going along. I think it's got publishable possibilities if I don't rush to finish it and take my time. That's a little habit I have when coming to the end and I need to stop it.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Okay, then definitely leave it alone on this pass. Scope it out once you're done.

I'm really curious about this story now! Gonna have to read it if the LM doesn't eat me up.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Polish it. It's not overkill, imo.

Yes, I'm going to polish it and leave it in after I've finished the story. Part of the problem was Carmack isn't a main character and only really bookends the actual story. This little added snippet was added because I deleted a paragraph that 'told' the reader Arthur was an author. This is still telling but it's a more interesting way of telling.
 
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VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Yes, I'm going to polish it and leave it in after I've finished the story. Part of the problem was Carmack isn't a main character and only really bookends the actual story. This little added snippet was added because I deleted a paragraph that 'told' the reader Arthur was an author. This is still telling but it's a more interesting way of telling.

It's fine just like it is. It's not overwritten. Nice action verbs. Only one copula and it's fine. Only one really complex sentence (two infinities, two prepositional phrases) that I don't see a good way to reconstruct ... I'd leave it. I get a picture of the scene in my head, and the "cry wolf/suspect publicity stunt in the face of looming danger" hook is firmly set. It's all effective as it sits.

You want to polish it? Put a period in "Mr Blake". ;-)
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
It's fine just like it is. It's not overwritten. Nice action verbs. Only one copula and it's fine. Only one really complex sentence (two infinities, two prepositional phrases) that I don't see a good way to reconstruct ... I'd leave it. I get a picture of the scene in my head, and the "cry wolf/suspect publicity stunt in the face of looming danger" hook is firmly set. It's all effective as it sits.

You want to polish it? Put a period in "Mr Blake". ;-)

Could you do me a favour and post my post with these pointed out? lol. I write instinctively and know when something feels right but still struggle to recognise what element of grammar they belong to :)

I think it would perhaps help other people too.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Could you do me a favour and post my post with these pointed out? lol. I write instinctively and know when something feels right but still struggle to recognise what element of grammar they belong to :)

I think it would perhaps help other people too.

Carmack picked up a large leather zip folder from beside him, fished inside for a few seconds and plucked out an eight-year-old copy of Vogue Magazine. He threw it on the table and thumbed through to a page with the corner turned down. Arthur watched carefully as he turned it with his palm for perusal.

“That’s you, right?” Carmack said, pointing to the picture with the heading ‘Arthur Blake: A Bright Future’.

Arthur looked at the photo and nodded. “I don’t understand what this has to do with what I’m telling you. We’re wasting time.”

[Let me draw your attention to this section.” A fat forefinger tapped at a line of text. “Just in case you require glasses, Mr Blake, let me read it for you: ‘Arthur Blake recently announced he wanted
to take time away from writing articles to pursue his childhood dreams of becoming a horror writer.’ Not just any old genre, Mr Blake … a horror writer. Now, forgive me if I’m just a little bit suspicious that the person in front of me, claiming ‘they’re coming’ and ‘whispers in my head’ also has ambitions of being a horror writer. Help me out here, Arthur. You’ve got to see how coincidental this is, yes?”

“I know what this looks like and I know it sounds crazy.” He leant forward, teetered on the brink for a second and fell back into the comfort of calm he’d found. “Look … I don’t know how long we have. I was there. I saw it. I felt it. It’s coming.”

But like I said, neither sentence is an issue. This is an effective scene.
 

Bagit

Senior Member
This is still telling but it's a more interesting way of telling.

I very much like this sentence, Az. You like the change. I didn't see the removed paragraph, but from the looks of the strong rewrite, I believe you here, no doubt.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
"Was" (I was there.) is a linking verb, or copula. It's best to limit them since they present no action, but you have to have some. You just don't want them in clusters. Since "one" isn't a cluster, you're fine here.

I know they're function and why you need to avoid them, just not the grammatical term for it. :) I don't normally worry about them in dialogue though, only in exposition.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
I know they're function and why you need to avoid them, just not the grammatical term for it. :) I don't normally worry about them in dialogue though, only in exposition.

If you write an extended sequence of dialogue, you'd still want to limit them. I can go on with dialogue for quite a while, so it's something I watch out for ... especially when using the trick of burying exposition in dialogue.
 
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