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Old 04-29-2014, 11:45 AM   #226
Graham
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Originally Posted by arjaybe View Post
v1.1 is uploaded

This addresses most of the issues raised by Graham. And adds about 60 words.-)

Jim
Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. You've made some good changes here.

Spoiler:

I was more comfortable this time with Ricky not jumping in; the extra few sentences help.

Line edit notes

more than halfway up the steep mountainsides on either side of the river

You've got a repeat of "the river" here, which is a bit jarring in the opening paragraph. Do you think just "up the steep mountainsides to either side" would work?

A garish game show was replaced by a serious serial.

It's a fun sentence, but for me the alliteration here broke the mood. The playful nature of the alliteration jarred.

darkened living room then darkened screen

Consider changing one of the 'darkened's? They're quite close together, and you use 'darkened hallway' in the final sentence of the story.

her father came over and picked up her remote, punching in one of her programs

Why would he turn the TV on if he's coming over to talk to Ricky on such a serious matter?

Low afternoon sunlight was bolting through a crack

Is this the same day? Would it be clearer with a section break before the sister arrives?

The earlier phrase "Some time later, maybe that day" gave me an impression of this particular day already having reached the afternoon at least. If the sister is the leaving on the same day having been there long enough to have visited, but still in winter daylight, then the timing is very specific. If more days have passed, then I feel a section break would help.

curiosity and fear putting a ratcheting stiffness in her arm.

It's a style choice, but I don't think you need this phrase. It's telling rather than showing, and I think it would be much more powerful simply as:

"Slowly, tentatively, she picked it up and brought it close to her face. Her hand was shaking so badly that the image was a blur, but there was no mistaking the content. It was her husband and baby."

they found John's body in the back seat. Michael's body was half unstrapped from his carseat.

I agree with Geoff here. There's something about this that isn't instantly clear, so we're jarred at the most important moment in the story. I think it stems from:

1) At this point we've half forgotten the names of John and Michael, so we're not immediately clear which one's the husband and which one's the son, particularly as John is found in the back seat.

2) It's hard to imagine John getting completely into the back seat with the car going under. It would be much clearer if he was leaning through the gap between the two front seats.

3) 'Carseat' without the context could be any seat in the car. This might be OK if the other parts of the phrasing are clearer.

Perhaps consider something like "they found her husband's body stretched into the back of the car. He had almost freed Michael from the carseat."

spilling them with her shaking hands

The subject here is the pill bottle, rather than the pills. Maybe say something like:

"where she wrenched it open with shaking hands. Pills scattered across the floor."

When she had scrabbled the last one out from under the sink she went through the house collecting her stashes, and flushed them all away.

Do you think this sentence is needed? By implication she's throwing away all her pills, and we didn't know about the other stashes before this point. Also, she hasn't noticed her father watching her from the hallway, which would be odd if she's just gone right round the house.

Maybe just have her scrabbling the last one out from under the sink and flushing it away, before sinking back on her knees? (Which is a very nice image.)



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Old 04-29-2014, 12:18 PM   #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmarlowe View Post
Sir Graham,

When My Father 'Died' - v.2-1 is up. Could you please read it one more time. I think the original ending was a little corny so I removed much of the stuff and ended with a question. Let me know if it works better? (well actually I 'copied' you somewhat, verbatim)
Yes, the ending's better now. Nice idea switching it round and ending with the line that you did.

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Old 04-29-2014, 12:57 PM   #228
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Cutting It Fine - 1.5

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Thanks for the comments Geoff. I'll reread it with these and Jim's thoughts in mind and see if some tweaks suggest themselves to me.
I've uploaded v1.5, but this has very few changes from v1.4. I've added some conjunctions and altered some punctuation.

You only need to reread this if you want to do a detailed line edit.

Spoiler:
I mulled adding detail to the 'box' that Marie was in, but even something as simple as 'life support box', 'medical pod', or 'high-sided-bed' breaks the flow of that sentence, which is more about boxes within boxes. There probably is a way to make it clearer, but I hope it's not too much of a jar as it is.

I considered the ending again, having left it for a couple of weeks, and I'm happy with the pacing. Again, it probably is possible to improve this, but it's risky so I think it's time to move on from this one!



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Old 04-29-2014, 11:32 PM   #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham View Post
Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. You've made some good changes here.

Graham
Thanks Graham. You've given me some good stuff to work with.

Jim
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:39 AM   #230
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Planting the Flag - 1.4

I've uploaded a final version of Planting the Flag.

Just a few, very small tweaks.

Spoiler:
After leaving this for a couple of weeks and returning to it, I've decided, reluctantly, that the spattered coolant had to go. The opening doesn't really need to state the weightlessness that early, and although the floating coolant is a nice image the important thing is to focus on the opening the box to get to the Geologist. With the coolant phrase the opening sentence is very long and clumsy - even without the commas around 'weightless' - and splitting the sentence into two doesn't seem to work.

I've also removed that exclamation point at the end of the Captain's joke, along with some commas that weren't needed, and I've put an 'and' in to one of the conjunctionless phrases.


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Old 04-30-2014, 12:46 PM   #231
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Quote:
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I've uploaded a final version of Planting the Flag.

Just a few, very small tweaks.

Graham
I look forward to reading it again.

Jim
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:13 PM   #232
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Planting the Flag v1.4

I realize you've declared it final, but . . .-)

Spoiler:
Now there is no indication that ". . . don't hit too hard" is a joke.

Following ". . . always some bad things happening." with "Let's hope so." sounds odd. I know you mean "Let's hope that's all it is." but it doesn't come out that way.


It makes a good story, Graham.

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Old 04-30-2014, 05:03 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by arjaybe View Post
I realize you've declared it final, but . . .-)

Spoiler:
Now there is no indication that ". . . don't hit too hard" is a joke.

Following ". . . always some bad things happening." with "Let's hope so." sounds odd. I know you mean "Let's hope that's all it is." but it doesn't come out that way.


It makes a good story, Graham.

Jim
Thanks, Jim.

Spoiler:
Just goes to show... I went with Geoff's suggestion that it didn't need the exclamation mark to feel like a joke. Now I'll have to think it over again!

Regarding "Let's hope so": yes, I think you're right. It doesn't read easily. I'll tweak that.



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Old 05-05-2014, 08:25 PM   #234
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The Road by the River v1-2

I've uploaded v1.2 of The Road to Dropbox. A bit of labor to get back into it.-)
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:39 PM   #235
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Cutting it Fine v1.5

This is a complete story and, to me, it looks almost done. However, I have found a few things . . .-)

Spoiler:
"Smitty barreled into the conversation, giving me no time to respond."

- and then he does respond. Then I realized it's to something 'way back. It's correct, but with all the stuff in between, it's a bit of a stopper.

Interesting idea about the Krub combining to form another being. Told without disrupting the story, too.

Might not need the paragraph on the Krub smelling like pickled onions. It's not that bad, but is it required?

". . . photos I've got of Dad and I . . ." s/b "me . . ." I know. Grammar nerd.

I can see him deciding to stay, and maybe the Krub will decide he's "useful," like the Commander. But we might need something earlier that opens that possibility. I was under the impression that they had to go.


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Old 05-06-2014, 03:13 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by arjaybe View Post
This is a complete story and, to me, it looks almost done. However, I have found a few things . . .-)

Spoiler:
"Smitty barreled into the conversation, giving me no time to respond."

- and then he does respond. Then I realized it's to something 'way back. It's correct, but with all the stuff in between, it's a bit of a stopper.

Interesting idea about the Krub combining to form another being. Told without disrupting the story, too.

Might not need the paragraph on the Krub smelling like pickled onions. It's not that bad, but is it required?

". . . photos I've got of Dad and I . . ." s/b "me . . ." I know. Grammar nerd.

I can see him deciding to stay, and maybe the Krub will decide he's "useful," like the Commander. But we might need something earlier that opens that possibility. I was under the impression that they had to go.


Jim
Thanks, Jim.

Useful stuff. I'll see what changes I can make.

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Old 06-05-2014, 03:54 PM   #237
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Hey folks, how's it going? It's been almost a month without updates. Let's hope we get some more stories from the pros here.

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Old 06-05-2014, 04:29 PM   #238
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Personally, it's going well; better than it has ever been in the last year. Regarding available time however, it's the worst time of my life.

Such is the result of the unemployed->employed switch, I suppose. Basically, everything but 'rebooting' my working life has been on hold for the last 6-7 weeks or so.

I'm not forgetting this project, however. While there may never be an anthology because of lack of material, I will, at the earliest opportunity, critique the new(er) stories and versions, and resume the rewrite of my own story. I expect that this will be somewhere at the end of this month.

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Old 06-05-2014, 05:00 PM   #239
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While there may never be an anthology because of lack of material
In that case, and it is strictly a suggestion, an optional exit strategy could be made available to all the authors involved. Just a thought.

I do really hope the anthology comes out, we have worked so hard on this for months with a lot of hope and sweat...

Nice to see you post after a long while.

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Old 06-05-2014, 05:29 PM   #240
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In that case, and it is strictly a suggestion, an optional exit strategy could be made available to all the authors involved. Just a thought.
Of course. At some point, if no more material is coming in, there just won't be an anthology. Should we decide that, all stories will be freed up.

In the very least, we'll all have written a complete story, and learned from the editing process. That is worth something Maybe we'll could restart the thread into an 'write your short story here and have it critiqued' thread, if none exists at that point.
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