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Author Topic: Rough draft...  (Read 4707 times)
speyeder
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« on: November 24, 2004, 12:12:22 PM »

Torn

He screamed inside his own head again, hoping to jar himself awake. He focused what he percieved to be all of his will on moving muscles in his body with no result. Being trapped inside this delusion would not be such a bad thing by itself. What made it so un-settling was a sense of foreboding, of being drawn into a void. This touched parts of his psyche and caused him to feel a type of fear most never do. Being helpless behind a wall of semi-consciousness became it's own prison.

His life became a scary place prior to his current state and it was slowly deteriorating. He had managed to reduce his feelings to a muffled voice with life poisoning activities, and at a heavy price. Now he was facing fear and the unknown in a gripping dream, not certain why he had chosen this. One small voice in his head told him it was the right thing to do, like a small flame fluttering in an ill wind. Every time he had closed his eyes within the last few days he had felt uneasy.So far he had only slept in short, shallow spurts while his system struggled to make sense of the sudden imbalance that shook him to his bones. For so long he had paralyzed his body and mind, and now they failed him. His mind held him prisoner while his body took the opportunity to make him aware of it's suffering. It was squeezing toxins from it's most vital tissues in a slow and painfull process. He could never have imagined feeling so uncomfortable in his own skin. He knew now that he would never forget it, if he survived. Pain passed through his entire body once again, so intense that it left a nauseating ripple through his head. His guts shuddered and his vision blurred and he wished he could make it go away. The same thing that got him here could do that temporarily, but it would eventually cost him his life. 

He remained in this limbo for days, slowly moving toward what he hoped was freedom. After a long and particularly deep sleep he woke in what the clock told him was afternoon. Three-thirty to be exact. His body felt achy and worn, covered in layers of sweat from days of sickness. He showered and immediatley found his way to the bed again before falling down. He realized that the worst was over, and that his greatest test still lay ahead of him. Staying clean was the hard part. He hoped that he could be stronger this time, so that he would never have to go through this again. Losing everything had once again scared him into giving up drugs. He knew to avoid the people and places that had anything to do with the poison that would always call to him. He knew that seeing someone stick a needle in their arm in a movie would make him tremble and look away for a while. He knew right from wrong but that had never saved him before. He hoped for the best and closed his eyes.

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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2004, 03:13:14 PM »

Very nice Spey... thought you said you could not write? Wink

Can't wait to see more from you.  A very descriptive narrative indeed
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2004, 04:19:19 PM »

Nicely descriptive, Spey - a good bit of character development.  cheers

Do you mind if I offer a bit of constructive criticism though? hiding  I think parts of the text are quite passive in tone, making the story seem distant - knock out as many past tenses as you can, and this will breathe life into the story.

I'll show you what I mean -

Quote
He screamed inside his own head again, hoping to jar himself awake. He focused what he percieved to be all of his will on moving muscles in his body with no result. Being trapped inside this delusion would not be such a bad thing by itself. What made it so un-settling was a sense of foreboding, of being drawn into a void. This touched parts of his psyche and caused him to feel a type of fear most never do. Being helpless behind a wall of semi-consciousness became it's own prison.

His life became a scary place prior to his current state and it was slowly deteriorating. He had managed to reduce his feelings to a muffled voice with life poisoning activities, and at a heavy price. Now he was facing fear and the unknown in a gripping dream, not certain why he had chosen this. One small voice in his head told him it was the right thing to do, like a small flame fluttering in an ill wind. Every time he had closed his eyes within the last few days he had felt uneasy.  So far he had only slept in short, shallow spurts while his system struggled to make sense of the sudden imbalance that shook him to his bones. For so long he had paralyzed his body and mind, and now they failed him. His mind held him prisoner while his body took the opportunity to make him aware of it's suffering; It was squeezing toxins from it's most vital tissues, in a slow and painfull process. He could never have imagined feeling so uncomfortable in his own skin - He knew (knowing) now that he would never forget it, if he survived. Pain passed through his entire body once again, so intense that it left a nauseating ripple through his head. (With) His guts shuddered (shuddering) and his vision blurred(,) and he wished he could make it go away. The same thing that got him here could do that temporarily, but it would eventually cost him his life. 

He remained in this limbo for days, slowly moving toward what he hoped was freedom. After a long and particularly deep sleep he woke in what the clock told him was afternoon. Three-thirty to be exact. His body felt (feeling) achy and worn, covered in layers of sweat from days of sickness, he showered and immediatley found his way to the bed again before falling down. He realized that the worst was over, and that his greatest test still lay ahead of him. Staying clean was the hard part. He hoped that he could be stronger this time, so that he would never have to go through this again. Losing everything had once again scared him into giving up drugs. He knew to avoid the people and places that had anything to do with the poison that would always call to him. He knew that seeing someone stick a needle in their arm in a movie would make him tremble and look away for a while. He knew right from wrong but that had never saved him before. He hoped for the best and closed his eyes
.


I would have gone further myself - making some of it like thoughts, so that the reader finds themself 'inside' the brain of the protagonist.  Like this bit, "Staying clean was the hard part." you could change it to a statement/conclusion, "Staying clean is the hard part."  That way they're reading a thought, and will tend to make it their own.

Bear in mind that all this is just opinion, not gospel, but I think it's valid smiley

Good stuff though, Spey - I'm looking forward to seeing more.



« Last Edit: November 24, 2004, 04:23:43 PM by blunt » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2004, 09:59:14 PM »

Ironic that he recommends you ditch the past tense then uses it in the first sentence LOL

He screamed inside his own head again---He is Screaming inside his own head again

And one of the corrections he made he mixes tenses

(With) His guts shuddered (shuddering) and his vision blurred(,) and he wished he could make it go away


(though I do not think you can start a sentence with with. Unless the precedeing ends in a semicolon?  Never have been sure of grammart rules though

Anyway, to unmix the tense...


His guts shuddering and his vision blurry, if only he could make it go away by wishing.

Or shorter

His guts shuddering, his vision blurry, wishing he could make it go away.



Blunt makes a very valid argument, but I disagree.  After all, if this is something that happened before, it should be in past tense.  IMHO.

But I am no author.  (said AUTHOOOOR--with nose and pinky in air Wink )

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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2004, 02:55:16 PM »

There was method in my madness.  I took the repetition of 'he' to be a device, and using "He is screaming inside his own head" changes the character of the story too much, requiring a lot more alterations throughout the whole text.  I would have prefered "Screaming inside his own head," but like I said, I thought the repetition was a device, so I didn't mess with it.  The same goes for the last few sentences, where 'he' is used to start every sentence - kinda like a 'heroic narrative' or a word from the author (editorial).

Mixing tenses is OK, as long as you're careful about it and it still makes sense.  To me, "(With) His guts shuddered (shuddering) and his vision blurred(,) and he wished he could make it go away." is fine.  If you went further and made it, "(With) His guts shuddered (shuddering) and his vision blurred (blurring)(,) and he wished (wishing) he could make it go away" it would also be fine, but you'd have to carry on the sentence to make it make sense.  The same goes for the examples you quote - you've changed the tenses, but the sentence no longer makes any sense.

Another thing to consider is that this is most likely 'back story', which is a prelude to an unfolding story and, as such, it's prone to being passive - it's unavoidable and a necessary evil in a well constructed tale.  However, introducing active tenses to back story, I believe, brings movement into the text and adds some variety.  Something else worth considering, is that it's not usually a good idea to open a story with back story.  Because of its passive tone, it can make for dull reading at a point in time when you want to sink a hook into the reader, in the hope that they will continue reading.  smiley

Like I said before, none of this is gospel - it's just my opinion, and it's up to you to decide how much of what I say is useful to you.  I find that most writers will offer advice that, if followed, would result in you writing exactly like them.  That's not always a good thing (obviously), because you don't want to write exactly like somebody else - you want to develop your own style.  So I think you have to take every comment with a pinch of salt and ask yourself how much is relevant to your needs; taking what you want and leaving the rest. smiley
« Last Edit: November 25, 2004, 03:02:36 PM by blunt » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2004, 08:57:52 PM »

Yeah my edits kinda sucked LOL

But I disagree with the whole past tense or mixed tense sentences.  Yes they become grammatically correct, but they also become less appealingto the common man.

The average person does mix tense in their sentences.  In fact

The average person not only writes the wrong version of their/ there/ they're they say it wrong too!!!

LOL

 Sorry I could not resist that one.



I personally like the past tense, its not a movie, but a stories of old thing.  The hero did this and did that, and on and on.  But NOW he is sitting in the retirement home for old heroes, hasbeens and neverwaz's. smiley

But style is something people develop with other peoples critiques.  As well as their own passions or strengths.

I felt that the author was relating a little bit of their past, and therefore past tense was correct. 

However, I also see the point that writing entirely in the past tense will eventually dull the reader to the sense of edge of your seat, will he survive(?) writing. 

I am in no way saying you are wrong (who am I to even hint at such a thing), just trying to offer a little wiggle room Wink



And yeah the He thing at the end?  Very good point, I totally missed that.  Addiction is a very self-involved thing, and heavy I/Me or HE/SHE use is completely in theme.  Other than that?  I would like to see the rewrite before commenting on it.  It is a rough draft, and needs some tightening up here and there, and of course mor edepth would be awesome.  (Not in the descriptive ideal, but hte length and breadth of it.  This is only one night mare is his battle for sobreity, but, there is always far more involved.)

Keep writing Spey...I hope the charecter wins in the end Wink 
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speyeder
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2004, 11:31:46 AM »

I wrote it ine a half hour or so. I haven't taken any writing classes and usually shoot for something that feels coherent when read. I am getting a bit of an education here and thank you for your inputs, put-downs, and whatever else you have to offer.  Wink

I lived that scene more than once, and was a having a little trouble putting it to words.   hiding
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2004, 04:19:36 PM »

I find writing very theraputic sometimes - it seems to unlock thoughts you've kept buried and can sometimes help you make sense of how you feel about something.  I think a lot of the time we're taught to ignore how we feel and just carry on with the business of living, whereas what we should be doing is figuring out what makes us happy, and the only way to do that is to know what makes us sad (and try to avoid those things).

Great characters come from realism, which is why most successful authors base their characters on people they know, and on their own experiences in life.  It's often said that everybody has one good novel in them, and I think that's probably true for the majority of the population, so I think you should get on and expand on this tale, Spey.  Use your own experiences to make other people feel something for the character.  Once you've done that you're half way there.  People are fascinated by other people's lives - that's why soap operas are so popular.  Add a believable story and voila, you have a novel.

I heard last week that one of my Canadian relatives had passed away, which made me very sad, but the thing that struck me most was all those untold stories that died with him.  He was a quiet man, the kind of guy that you look at and it seems like he's got everything figured out - comfortable in his own skin, at home everywhere.  During WW2 he fought at Monte Casino, then all the way up through Italy and France.  Then after the war he became a Mountie, and carried on until his retirement.  During a quiet moment, I tried to get him to open up about the things he had done and seen in his lifetime, but he wasn't the type to tell war stories, sadly.  But what he did say has stuck with me, and it was this - "I've seen more than anybody should see.  There are some things that change you forever, and you lose something by seeing them."  This was said with one of those thousand yard stares, the ones that tell you that he's seeing these experiences acted out in memory, as he's speaking. 

If only he had written a book.
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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