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scene from a murder book... (1 Viewer)

Kevin

WF Veterans
He dropped thirty bucks on top of the bill next to his water. He looked around, hoping to catch the server's eye. This was your typical so-cal Japanese restaurant. Windowless, wanna-be uscale bar like atmosphere. Multiple rooms, teppan tables, booths, sushi bar, you name it, they had everything in japanese food(except for real japanese workers, he often thought) It was the "in between" times, too late for lunch, too early for happy hour. Even so, she, his server, was busy; more employees would be in soon. She wasn't bad looking, he noted. Twenties and lean, hylighted hair, slacks and and button up blouse, cuffs open and rolled up, your typical bartender outfit. They all looked good, he thought, have to look presentable to the public. She had been nice but not overly. Anyway, he needed to go. He needed to get back. He still had work to do.

Down at the other end of the long "sushi" counter, one his co-workers had also come in. If there had been time, he would've gone over and sat with him, but, he'd come in too late. He went over anyway, looking back just to make sure that there was no one to snatch his bills off the counter. I gotta go, he thought. Hey, buddy(what was his name again?) handshake, what should I order? hey, thanks. next time. see ya. He made his way back to his spot and caught the server's eye as she was grabbing this and that. He placed his hand over the money and the bill,so she could see and slid them towards her.
Keep it.
thanks,
and he left, this time heading towards the rear of the place. He had to pass through a section that was still being made ready for the evening rush. Chairs and tables blocking his path, he had to hop on one foot, drag the other over the seat cushions as he went. Finally clearing them, he heard her call out to him, "Nice moves!"
He looked back and smiled.(Was that a flirt? he wondered)Down a small hall, passing doors and a bathroom, he found a rear exit.

He stepped out into an alley. Deserted, this was where employees took in deliveries or went out for a smoke. Beyond the cracked asphalt was a fence and some bushes, and then the freeway. He inhaled the cold air. He immediately felt like gagging. He caughed up some spit and mucus.
Well, that was a waste of thirty dollars, he thought. At least I didn't puke it up. And I shouldn't have had that second beer, either. He had work to do and it was still a couple of blocks back to the office.

He looked around, trying to decide which way to go, and noticed how desolate and deserted it seemed; isolated too. There was some trash on the ground and the slight smell of urine. A small massonry wall along part of the fence had layers of tagging on it. A car slowly approached. He felt uneasy. He still looked athletic in his clothes, but he knew that underneath his muscles were dissappearing into fat with disuse. He was thirty-three and hadn't done anything physical in years. That was the price of working in an office six days a week for the last 11 years.

And now here he was, in an alley, feeling vulnerable, and wearing those damn slippery shoes. He could never get over the shoes. He knew they were required for all business attire, but they were just so uncomfortable, and un-functionable. How could you run or fight with these smooth, hard soles? He looked back at the door he'd just come out of; no handle. Great. It was at least fifty feet to the passageway that lead back to the front of the strip mall. He was being silly, he told himself, but the hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention. He must look like a drunk, like an easy mark ...


The car got closer.

Hmm. Maybe not. Too aware. Too alert. He liked to "take them" from behind, by surprise. Keep one hand on the wheel and don't stare. Ah, well, let this one go. There's more "fish" in the sea. If there's one thing he needed to be, he told himself, it was to be more patient . The night was still young after all...


He stared after the vehicle. It seemed more like a great white shark which had just passed up some prey. Not hungry enough, I guess, he thought. Well, that was weird. He let out a big breath, wiped some moisture off his chin, and headed back towards the office.
 
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Cody

Senior Member
He dropped thirty bucks on top of the bill next to his water
This is maybe not so great of an opening sentence. I had to reread it a few time to understand he was most likely in a restaurant, before reading onto the second part which made it more clear. I'm not sure that you need to tell us that there is a glass of water next to his bill.

Also why do you go on to describe how the waitress looks if she doesn't matter? You use the first paragraph to tell us all about this sushi bar, but you haven't spent anytime describing the main character. For all I know he is a black midget with a cross eye. It would be a super interesting story if it were about a black midget with a cross eye...OOOOO and maybe also he's an alien.

I get that this is just one scene from the book, but It's hard for me to have any feelings about this because I don't feel anything about any of the characters.

I have read excerpts from the middle parts of people's stories before and been able to feel more connected.
 

Mado

Member
I'd say this is not bad, however I advise that you check your punctuation, especially in the second paragraph. I didn't really understand how the speech flowed.
I think the starting sentence wasn't that bad, but maybe try adding some details about the character first? Or some neutral description of the surroundings, the mood, weather, etc.
 

josh.townley

Senior Member
I agree with Mado. The dialogue was very confusing, and overall it needs some polishing, but I liked it. I was trying to guess who this guy would turn out to be. The murderer? The victim? A cop? Or, as it turns out, just some random guy who might have been a victim if he'd had another drink. I think that was a good way to go with it.

Even if this character doesn't appear again in the book, I think it would still be better to give him a name. As it is, he is completely forgettable as a character, so the reader couldn't care less about whether he gets killed or not at this stage.

Also, from how I understand it, the second last paragraph is from the point of view of the killer. This wasn't really clear to me at first, and I think you could do a bit more with that paragraph.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Mado

Member
I was trying to guess who this guy would turn out to be. The murderer? The victim? A cop? Or, as it turns out, just some random guy who might have been a victim if he'd had another drink. I think that was a good way to go with it.

Oh I just read over it again and realized that you could understand that character in many ways, you can't tell whether what he talks about in the second last paragraph is about himself, or what he knows about the methods of the killer. Since he has such an intriguing role, I'd suggest to make him appear later, maybe with his intentions and purpose revealed later? For that, if you don't want to use a name, at least give him some distinctive characteristics.

And I just remembered something I wanted to add about the second paragraph with the confusing dialogue. As I understand, this character frequents the restaurant, doesn't he? And the way he interacts with people could be considered a routine? This reminds me of this one Lithuanian novel called "The White Shroud" by Antanas Skema, unfortunately I couldn't find it in English, but at some point the author desribes the main character's routine as a hotel elevator worker and his actions flow along with the usual responces to the people he sees in short sentences, but there's no actual transition from action to dialogue, it all fits into one paragraph. Kevin, if you're still coming back to this piece, I'd be glad to translate some parts as examples for you because I have a hunch I understand what you're trying to do with the quoteless dialogue there.
 

Kevin

WF Veterans
Mado: As far as the lack of quotes around the the sushi bar conversation, I think you've expressed it for me a better than I could myself. I was thinking (as I wrote) that the actual words exchanged weren't of much importantance to the story, and that quotes would somehow formalize or overemphasize them. I didn't think of them as even 'verbatum' transcripts, but just as the 'gist' of what was said. How many trivial, mundane conversations or exchanges do you have, where nothing important is said, but it's expected that you speak out of politeness or etiquette? "Routine" is a great word for it. I think I had seen this 'form' modeled for me somewhere else.
I'm never sure about puntuation. I hope that repetition will help me learn. Thanks for any suggestions.

j.t.: About the switch of perspective in last paragraph...I was thinking that I had read story forms that, at first, seemed confusing, but that with repetition (of chapters) formed a discernable pattern. Was it a concious effort on my part? or just a lack of ability? Hmmm...

I also am unsure about showing character 'thoughts'. I don't like using quotes around them, but I'm never sure if people will 'get' it.

re: Victim descriptions; how does one introduce a possible "victim" when you're just going to kill them off anyway? I ask myself that because I don't really know. I had just finished reading a whole bunch of "James Pattinsen" books, so I had this serial killer/ victim book (very popular over herein the states) pattern fresh in my head. I thought "could I do this?" or more like, "Why couldn't I do this?" The author looks pretty "fat" on the covers and they've even made movies out of some of them. Not very original but, I do like the descriptions of the locations. Okay, so they're very 'formulaic', but I do get entertained.

All the stuff I post is experimental for me and I never know what will work or what doesn't.
I'm happy that anyone even bothers with it. Thanks for helping me learn. I hope that I can reciprocate. Kevin

just as a p.s.: I had to rewrite about half of this reply. When I went to "submit" it dissappeared. All my sentence edits and the last paragraphs went "poof" into the unknown. Frustrating. I liked how I said everything the first time, better.
 
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Dylan

Senior Member
re: Victim descriptions; how does one introduce a possible "victim" when you're just going to kill them off anyway?


It depends how fast they're going to be killed off. If they're going to die a page or two after they're introduced, then I would say in that limited time you need to give that character a strong personality or meaning within those pages.

I think it works well to introduce them in an extremely well known, normal setting. That way when they're murdered it really hits home.

If you treat the character like he doesn't matter, the reader will as well. And then it's just a small blip in their minds, like "oops, he just died" instead of "OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED"
 

Bailey

Senior Member
This was your typical so-cal Japanese restaurant. Windowless, wanna-be uscale bar like atmosphere. Multiple rooms, teppan tables, booths, sushi bar, you name it, they had everything in japanese food(except for real japanese workers, he often thought)

This was your typical so-called Japanese restaurant: windowless, wannabe upscale bar like atmosphere, multiple rooms, teppan(? - no idea what this is, may be my fault) tables, booths, sushi bar - you name it and they had everything in Japanese food (except for real Japanese workers he often thought).

Down at the other end of the long "sushi" counter, one his co-workers had also come in

Down at the other end of the long "sushi" counter, one of his co-workers had also come in.

Such fixes are necessary to make the piece coherent. But I can say that your story is one that is good to me. I know that its simply a part so I won't bash the context too much. I would say make a detail important. Don't waste time for my patience as a reader. Even that said, I enjoyed your writing. The end part in describing the impending violence was done well. Overall, I like it very much.
 

Mr mitchell

WF Veterans
Hello Kevin, this was hard to read, the words wasn't flowing and I didn't knew what the character was thing or how he felt. At the start you must hook the reader, but you didn't, there were no tension or conflict, however with some work, I think it could be a good story.
 

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