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Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 04:46 AM
The actual assignments are in the other thread. Read them there.

Then post your assignments here. This way, I can see them at a glance can make sure that I critique them all.

Thanks.

Rayne

Fatherdragon1
September 29th, 2012, 08:19 AM
This is an excerpt of my work in process, adjusted to fit word limit.

****

The Seer observed Aryan intently. “Kathy’s death might be your strongest motivation to pass Agni’s test and become his top warrior but Agni didn’t kill her. As much as it hurts, you have to admit the god summoned you before all this happened.”
Aryan’s nostrils flared. “Are you blaming me?”
“No. You are,” the elder man pressed a hidden mechanism on the stone wall right before them. A secret door groaned open, revealing a dark passage.
Aryan wrinkled his nose and rubbed it with his hand. The stench of death was strong but he didn’t know if it came from the passage or it was the same that was impregnated on his clothes, on his skin, and inside his nose. The one seared in his brain.
“Agni waits for you,” the Seer motioned his hand towards the passage. “Don’t be afraid.”
Aryan’s cheeks flushed. He thrust his chest out and raised his chin. “I feel many things alright, but none of them is fear.”
Being taller than the standard Indian men, Aryan had to crook his back and lower his head to keep from hitting the ceiling as he entered.
The Seer took one last glance around before the secret door shut behind them. Aryan halted when everything became pitch black. He felt the Seer’s hand on his arm, prompting him to walk.
“I can’t see anything,” the young man advanced carefully. The ground felt too soft and uneven under his feet.

Patricia Bates
September 29th, 2012, 10:56 AM
“Do not dawdle, Una, our time grows short.” Harsh, bitter,
Anagor’s voice scraped along her nerves as she hurried through the
stone corridor. The heavy cloak she wore hid the shimmering fabric of
her priestess robes, but did little to battle the cold soaking
through to her flesh.



“’Tis cold, this place we are being sent.” Una shivered and
ducked beneath a heavy beam. Her hand pressed against the icy stone
as she struggled to maintain her balance on the uneven ground.



“You may think so.” Anagor’s sneer pricked at the ready temper
she’d struggled to control. Biting her lip, she kept the sharp
retort to herself. Glancing up, her gaze fell on the open doorway and
she stumbled. Shock ripped through her along with the icy chill.



Snow slapped at the ground, swirling in a maelstrom of white. It blew
through the portal into the opening piling around her sandal clad
feet. Teeth chattering she rubbed at her arms as Anagor stepped back,
reaching for her cloak, all but shoving her into the freezing air.


“Duty does not wait for one who whines.” He snapped, his grip
tightening around her arm. Bitter winds lashed at her dress,
whipping the fabric around her legs. Her cheeks and toes burned, fog
formed in front of her with every breath. Skin tightened, prickles of
heat dancing along the surface.


“My lord, I would hurry, but this wind. It is so cold. I fear I’ll
freeze.”

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 11:12 AM
Yay, the first assignment has arrived! Thanks, Patricia, for being the first and leading the way.

Overall, this is fine. You've used the sense of temperature to great effect to pull the reader into the PoV's experience.

You could make more of the portal itself. In the current version, it gets a bit lost. I believe passing through the portal is actually an important moment, so make the most of it. Consider adding a couple more sentences describing the portal.

I have a suggestion for your writing style. If you're not interested, just ignore it.

This excerpt contains a lot of words ending with "ing" (present participles, gerunds and so on). I don't know whether you've done this deliberately for artistic reasons (which I'm too thick to grasp) or whether they just crept into your writing without you noticing.

I've used Find&Replace to show you visually how many ingingings this short section contains. If you didn't mean to use quite so many, consider eliminating some, perhaps by using Simple Past Tense.

>“Donot dawdle, Una, our time grows short.” Harsh, bitter,
Anagor’svoice scraped along her nerves as she hurried through the
stonecorridor. The heavy cloak she wore hid the shimmerING****** fabricof
herpriestess robes, but did little to battle the coldsoakING******
throughto her flesh.
“’Tiscold, this place we are beING****** sent.” Una shivered and
duckedbeneath a heavy beam. Her hand pressed against the icy stone
asshe struggled to maintain her balance on the uneven ground.
“Youmay think so.” Anagor’s sneer pricked at the ready temper
she’dstruggled to control. BitING****** her lip, she kept the sharp
retortto herself. GlancING****** up, her gaze fell on the open doorwayand
shestumbled. Shock ripped through her along with the icy chill.
Snowslapped at the ground, swirlING****** in a maelstrom of white. Itblew
throughthe portal into the openING****** pilING****** around her sandalclad
feet.Teeth chatterING****** she rubbed at her arms as Anagor steppedback,
reachING******for her cloak, all but shovING****** her into the freezING******air.
“Dutydoes not wait for one who whines.” He snapped, hisgrip
tightenING******around her arm. Bitter winds lashed at her dress,
whippING******the fabric around her legs. Her cheeks and toes burned, fog
formedin front of her with every breath. Skin tightened, prickles of
heatdancING****** along the surface.
“Mylord, I would hurry, but this wind. It is so cold. I fearI’ll
freeze.”<

I hope this helps a bit.

Rayne

Terry Wylis
September 29th, 2012, 11:22 AM
The steady drip of rainwater on a pile of discarded oil drums lent an eerie soundtrack to the dark alleyway. Tom eased toward the brick archway, nerves taut, cursing the glow of the streetlamps and the knowledge there would be zero cover once he crossed that threshold. His pistol felt more like a fifty-pound weight, its chill surface making him shiver even though it was six inches from his cheek. They're waiting for me. They're sitting there just waiting for me to stick my head around that goddamn corner.

Well, okay, retreat wasn't an option. If he didn't face them now, they'd finish him off some night in his sleep. An ignominious death, probably untraceable, and he'd be just another unfortunate casualty in the war against organized crime. The thought left battery acid churning in his gut. No fucking way. If he was going to die, by God he'd make it the costliest contract they'd ever put out.

As he got closer to the archway, Tom noticed the deep niche of a doorway on the opposite side of the deserted street. Probably a service entrance for the Oriental market on Jackson Street. Decent cover, if he could manage to scramble, roll, and dive his way across thirty feet of pocked asphalt without taking a slug. Hell, he might actually live to see the sunrise.

If they hadn't already thought of it and had a shooter just waiting for him to get comfy before open season started.

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 11:23 AM
Hi Dragon,

This is good. The sentence "A secret door groaned open, revealing a dark passage." works well,as do the smell and the darkness. Consider describing the door a bit more. Maybe you could write one additional sentence describing it before they enter?

By the way, are you aware that your dialogue punctuation is incorrect in several places? If the speech is followed by a complete sentence, then it needs fullstop (American: period) not a comma.

Two examples:

>“No. You are,” the elder man pressed a hidden mechanism on the stone wall right before them.<
Since the bit about the elder man is a complete sentence, it needs to be presented as a sentence:
“No. You are.” The elder man pressed a hidden mechanism on the stone wall right before them.

>“Agni waits for you,” the Seer motioned his hand towards the passage.<
Since the bit about the Seer is a complete sentence, it needs to be presented as a sentence:
“Agni waits for you.” The Seer motioned his hand towards the passage.

>“I can’t see anything,” the young man advanced carefully.<
should be
“I can’t see anything.” The young man advanced carefully.

>when everything became pitch black.<

The phrase "pitch black" is a bit cliched. Can you think of another word to describe the darkness, something more original?

>He felt the Seer’s hand on his arm, prompting him to walk.<

Consider describing what the Seer's hand on his arm feels like. Is it a warm, cold, soft, hard....? A single adjective may be enough to let the reader experience the moment.

I hope these suggestions help.

Rayne

bonelover13
September 29th, 2012, 11:42 AM
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> So this is the beginning of a new chapter, and would like to be able to make this a bit stronger.

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]-->“Get inside and sit down, we have a lot to talk about.” Mariana ordered as she closed the door to her store, locked the door, put the CLOSED sign in the window, and dimmed the lights. She felt like she needed to keep moving to prolong the conversation that was inevitably going to happen. Her heart was pounding, her hands sweating, and she felt like she was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. As she let out a long weighted sigh she turned to her visitor.

Any ideas on how to make this a bit better?
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Bethanne
September 29th, 2012, 12:03 PM
Hey Rayne,
this is a bit from a ms I started working on then had a HD crash and lost most of my work. Trying to get motivated to open it and redo the work. :( Maybe a few words will help.

He turned her under the spray and tilted her head back so the soap would run down her back then nodded his head toward the curtain. “Go on. Get out while I still have some will-power left.”

She kissed him just over his heart and disappeared.

There was only one option left for him. He turned the water cold and soaked himself. After rubbing down with a soapy washcloth and rinsing, he twisted the faucet off.

And listened.

Quiet. Not the usual quiet that filled a room when people were in it, but a dead quiet when something has gone terribly wrong.
Letting out a slow breath, dread filled him.

He pushed the curtain aside and the bright lights above the mirror flashed in his eyes. The haze filled his vision, starting at the edges and working its way inward. “Stacy?”

Reaching for his towel, he quickly wrapped it around his waist and picked up his gun from the counter top.

A sharp pain struck behind his eyes. He dimmed the lights and opened the door.

CherylYeko
September 29th, 2012, 12:25 PM
With Casey flung over his shoulder, Rock pushed a wide, steel door open with his broad shoulder and kicked it shut behind him. The sharp clang reverberated in the room like a death knell, filling her with dread. She was alone with a dangerous man.

Fatherdragon1
September 29th, 2012, 12:40 PM
Oh, I already love you Rayne. I was confused about the use of the comma in the dialogue. It didn't feel right to me. Thanks for the feedback! I'll make the changes needed.

Dragon

BrannanBlack
September 29th, 2012, 12:45 PM
My guide’s steps sounded tense. Most people didn’t know how to react to a blind person much less help guide them. I assumed that was her problem. My foot banged into the wood step. Damn!
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Her voice held a slight tremor. “Uh, there are two steps up to the porch.”
I reached out with my other hand for the rail. A faint tremor flowed from her soft fingers so slightly others would no doubt miss it. “It’s ok, how many steps to the door?” Tremor turned to shake. Had I unnerved her that much?
Our steps echoed hollowly across the porch. “Ah, two? I think?” She almost jerked me to a stop. “Let me get the door.”
It made little sound opening but a breeze of stale air wafted past me. Faint sounds from inside suggested others waited. I cocked my head trying to tell how many. They stood so very still! I wished people didn’t get so uptight around me.
“Come on.” She tugged me forward. I stumbled over the low sill. “Damn! Sorry.” Now even her voice held a faint tremor.
The door snicked closed behind me blowing a faint odor to my nose. What the hell? I jerked out of my guides grip, half turning toward that smell and backing up. I stumbled against a hard body.
“Easy there Mei, no one wants to hurt you. Not like those bastard beasts.” Frank’s oily voice grated on my ears even as his clammy hands gripped my arms.
I sucked in a breath to scream but a hand clamped tightly over it. “Now, now, no need to bring your masters running. We just want a chance to talk some sense into you.”
Another woman’s voice came from farther in the room. “Deprogram you actually. And don’t worry, those monsters won’t be a problem after today.”
My heart stuttered. Oh, God, what had they done to my guys? My mates?

Brannan

Charlayne
September 29th, 2012, 01:03 PM
The pain in his back escalated, he shrieked again. This time he felt his wings tear from their sockets, the pain blinding. Adrian stumbled, going down on one knee and then struggling to his feet again. The four young men surrounding him laughed, one of them taking aim with the bat once again. This time it hit him in the head and for a moment he saw stars as pain exploded across his brain. Then everything went blessedly dark as he fell against the door of the crypt, shattering it with his back and shoulders.

…(snipped)

Through the rubble of the marble crypt door, two small, brown hands reached under Adrian’s shoulders and quickly dragged his large body into the dark, forbidding grave. Then a piece of wood was slammed up against the open hole, sealing it shut. The sound of rocks being placed against the mahogany panel came from inside the tomb. Then the graveyard was silent again except for the sound of distant laughter as the grave robbers left the dead to their rest.

glory123
September 29th, 2012, 01:06 PM
<!--><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> Alan moved quickly, rounded the counter and reached forward as they both neared the booth and opened the door. Squeezing past the mechanic, his arm stretched across to the phone. He pulled the door half-closed, began dialling and spoke quickly to the person on the line. Anna stood as near to the half-closed door as she dared, but heard only the soft murmur of his voice, his words muffled against the receiver. The thud of her heart raced against ribs held tense. H[I]e hadn’t called the police; he’d pretended…he was playing a game…who was he talking too? Alan put the phone down and walked out of the small booth his voice echoing in the silence.

‘Let’s get back, they’ll be leaving the station and waiting to question us.’

Avoiding his eyes, Anna struggled for words, anything, anything that would keep her at the garage. ‘ I’ll wait here.’

‘I can’t leave you here. What about your car?’ Alarm grew, painted his face, and filled his blue eyes with fierceness.



Anna tried delaying, ‘I need the washroom…won’t be a sec…’ and darted for the dingy door marked -- Ladies.

He shouted after her, his voice terse, ‘Better be quick, I’ll be waiting outside,’ and walked towards the exit door.

A car door slammed, she heard the faint roar of an engine starting and thought of Alan, waiting for her. Silent, standing in the washroom before the cracked mirror she wondered what to do next. Should she go back with him? Shivering at the thought she left the washroom, scarcely able to control her shaking legs as she moved slowly across the empty space towards the exit. Where was the mechanic? He must be near; he might be able to help her. Anna grimaced as she saw the cleared counter, felt the eerie stillness of the one-story building now shrouded in darkness. She was alone.

Outside the sky was starry, the car engine still running, a distant drone in the still night. Anna hesitated, walked towards it. Alan lay across the steering wheel, blood streaming from the side of his head. The scream reached her throat; stayed, held there by frozen terror as her thoughts vied with her pounding heartbeats. Shock paralysed, snatched at her breath, held her in its grip.

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TarynElliott
September 29th, 2012, 02:09 PM
A tiny bit of background--Shane just found out some information about his best friend and his father that has him pissed off. He's been stewing and drinking alone for at least a half hour.
~~~~~


She sighed and climbed the stairs. The house was silent. The carpeting muffled her footfalls as she reached the landing. The first room’s door was cracked open, but the lights were off. The dull scrape of glass over wood made her pause. She could hear the low crash of surf from an open window.

She pushed the door a little wider. “Shane?”

Her eyes adjusted to the dim light. An ivory panel fluttered around the sliding door. There was just enough moonlight to show the half empty bottle of liquor and heavy tumbler with a shot’s worth of amber liquor inside sitting on the desk. She moved into the room, closing the door behind her.

“Sure you want to do that, babe?”

She followed his voice out the door and gripped the door jamb, stepping back into the room. The balcony was glass and steel like the rest of the house. The ocean roared beneath them as the tide battered the rocks spitting spray into the night. Moonlight shimmered across the breakers--wild and beautiful like the man who leaned against the railing. Dress pants hung low along his tapered waist and his dress shirt and undershirt was long gone.

“Shane, why don’t you come inside?”

“Why don’t you come out here?”

bonelover13
September 29th, 2012, 02:09 PM
Bethanne~
I am digging this story thus far! I am intrigued and want to read more! Well done!

MGEdwards
September 29th, 2012, 02:15 PM
"Details, girl. Get your life right and focus. I'll see you later. Let me know if you change your mind." Rachel tells Elena while closing the heavy wooden door behind her. Seconds later the sounds of the deadbolts sliding into place echo throughout the quiet apartment.

podixon
September 29th, 2012, 02:31 PM
Lady Alexandra released a long, beleaguered sigh. Her nephew’s audacity knew no limits. Bracing herself, she pressed both hands against the sturdy, dark mahogany door. Ever since she was a child, cold, calculating and intimidating was how she had considered what awaited her on the other side. She placed an unsteady hand on her bosom, and the other on the door handle. Time to do battle with the grandson of Satan.

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 02:55 PM
Hi Taryn,

Excellent! You really nailed the assignment. The way you slowed the pace while she opens the door and enters really raises the suspense high.

This can be especially effective if later in the scene, the pace switches to fast action.

I have one other thought for you. It may not be relevant, I'll just mention it. Your character sighs at the beginning of this excerpt. Although there's no rule forbidding sighs ;-) don't allow her to sigh too much. Sighing characters tend to come across as weaklings and the readers quickly lose respect for them. In real life, people who sigh all the time quickly get on other people's nerves, and this can happen in fiction too. I recommend allowing your heroine to sigh once in the book; only you can know if this is the most sigh-worthy situation. :-)

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 02:57 PM
Hi Glory 123,
I'm afraid I don't get it. Where is she walking through a doorway on her way to danger? The only doors mentioned are ones that she either doesn't enter or don't lead to danger.
Would you like to have another go?
Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 02:59 PM
Hi Terry,

It looks like you ran out of words before you got to the actual assignment. :-)

Leave out the first half (for the assignment; not for your novel) and start here: >As he got closer to the archway, Tom noticed the deep niche of a doorway on the opposite side of the deserted street. Probably a service entrance for the Oriental market on Jackson Street. Decent cover, if he could manage to scramble, roll, and dive his way across thirty feet of pocked asphalt without taking a slug. Hell, he might actually live to see the sunrise.If they hadn't already thought of it and had a shooter just waiting for him to get comfy before open season started.<

And then show us how he opens the door and enters.

Will you write that part and send it in?

Rayne

kalujinn
September 29th, 2012, 03:08 PM
Devon readied his weapon, fingering the safety off as he slipped down the long hall. The dust on the floor had been disturbed; there were two sets of footprints and marks from something being dragged in between them. They led toward a door in an alcove. He crept closer, pausing for a moment with his ear near the wooden panel. Flakes of white paint fluttered as he tried to quiet his breathing. He heard nothing from beyond the door. Devon turned the brass knob slowly, wincing at the sound of the metal tumblers grinding together, stifling a hiss as the door hinges creaked. He slipped inside and pressed his back against the wall beside the door. A movement to his right caught the corner of his eye and he flung himself out of the way as the door suddenly slammed shut.

LaciPaige
September 29th, 2012, 03:23 PM
Hello, I cannot find how long of an excerpt to post. I hope this is all right...

My main character Luciana just feel asleep and is dreaming...

Running through the darkness as fast as I could, I wasn’t sure why I was running, so I slowed down to catch my breath. Things were starting to look familiar. I was in the main corridor at work, it was dark, and I was alone. But what was I running from? I leaned my back flat on the wall near the elevator, and pressed the call button by stretching my arm out to the side. I did a double take at what floor it was coming from. Floor thirteen? We didn’t have a thirteenth level. For superstitious reasons floor twelve was followed by fourteen. My heart began to race again. Glancing back and forth between the long dark hallway on either side of me and then back to the elevator display, I started sweating. My breath was coming out in shallow gasps; I could hear it echoing in the empty hall.
Watching the numbers tick up to where I was, on level twenty, my feet backed me slowly away from the elevator doors until I bumped into the wall on the opposite side of the hall. 17…18…19…I took off running in the direction I came from.
I heard the elevator ding and the doors slid open from behind me. The temperature in the hall dropped about 30 degrees. Goosebumps spread across my skin and the hair on my neck stood straight up. Looking over my shoulder I gasped when I saw a dark cloaked shape exit the opened doors. The figure was bathed in light from the elevator car but its form was nothing more than a blur to me. It walked directly towards me in a casual stroll. As I ran past an office door there was another figure there. All I could make out were its intense eyes. It wasn’t making any attempt to come after me so I turned my attention back to the one chasing me. Peering over my shoulder again I could see a black gloved hand reaching out for my shoulder.

...and then Luciana woke after that.

(thanks for taking the time to do this with us!)
~Laci

TarynElliott
September 29th, 2012, 03:44 PM
Hi Taryn,

Excellent! You really nailed the assignment. The way you slowed the pace while she opens the door and enters really raises the suspense high.

This can be especially effective if later in the scene, the pace switches to fast action.

I have one other thought for you. It may not be relevant, I'll just mention it. Your character sighs at the beginning of this excerpt. Although there's no rule forbidding sighs ;-) don't allow her to sigh too much. Sighing characters tend to come across as weaklings and the readers quickly lose respect for them. In real life, people who sigh all the time quickly get on other people's nerves, and this can happen in fiction too. I recommend allowing your heroine to sigh once in the book; only you can know if this is the most sigh-worthy situation. :-)

Rayne

Thanks, Rayne.
Yeah--I'm with you on the sighing. I'll make sure she doesn't do it often.
This one was because she just talked to his best friend and was warned off of getting involved with Shane since he wasn't acting himself, ATM. A little too late of course. :whistilin:

I still have to go thru and do another 3 passes of edits. *faints*

LOL

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 05:31 PM
Hi Laci,
The assignment is to write 10-250 words about a character entering through a door.
Detailed instructions are in the ASSIGNMENTS folder.
Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 05:43 PM
Here are some suggestions:
1. Change the word "prolong" to "postpone" - I think that's what you mean.
2. Change the punctuation.
3. Change some words to more vivid ones.
4. Avoid the kind of words frequently used by novice writers: felt, turned, sigh
5. Tighten. This excerpt contains several unnecessary words which dilute the tension.

I've taken the liberty and played with your paragraph, rewriting it. Of course, my version may not be appropriate for your story, and my writing style may not be compatible with yours. Feel free to use the parts you like, and to discard the others.

ORIGINAL
“Getinside and sit down, we have a lot to talk about.” Mariana orderedas she closed the door to her store, locked the door, put the CLOSEDsign in the window, and dimmed the lights. She felt like she neededto keep moving to prolong the conversation that was inevitably goingto happen. Her heart was pounding, her hands sweating, and she feltlike she was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. As she let out along weighted sigh she turned to her visitor.


RAYNE'S REWRITE SUGGESTION
“Getinside and sit down,” Mariana ordered. “We have a lot to talkabout.” She shut and locked the door, put theCLOSED sign in the window and dimmed the lights. If she keptmoving, she could postpone the inevitable conversation for a littlelonger. Her heart pounded, her hands sweated, and her chest wasfilled with dread. She braced herself and faced her visitor.

I hope this helps a little.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 05:52 PM
Hi Bethanne,

This piece doesn't actually get to the core of the assignment until the last sentence: He dimmed the light and opened the door.

"He opened the door" is perhaps not the most exciting way of writing this.

How about fleshing this bit out? Does he pull the door open, push it open or slide it open? How does the door handle/knob feel in his hand? Cold? Warm? Moist? Sticky? Slimy? What does he hear while his hand is already on the handle but before he pulls it open. Perhaps he opens it first just a slit - what does he see? darkness? light? - and then he pulls/pushes/slides it fully open. How does it sound?

It may be an idea to tighten some of what you've already written to speed up the pace, and then to slow the pace the moment he's at the door.

Other than that, I have two suggestions. Two of the sentences in this excerpt don't quite work for me.

>Letting out a slow breath, dread filled him.<
The way this sentence is structured, it implies that it's the dread that lets out the breath. ;-)
Actually, I would delete this sentence altogether. The preceding sentence builds the sense of dread nicely; keep it at that and don't spell it out.

>Reaching for his towel, he quickly wrapped it around his waist and picked up his gun from the counter top.<
The way this sentence is structured, it implies that he does the wrapping and gun-picking while he reaches for his towel. I think it's difficult to do these things all at once. ;-)
I would also leave out the word "quickly" because the sentence will have a faster pace without an adverb in it.
Consider: He reached for his towel, wrapped it around his waist and picked up his gun from the counter top.

I hope this helps.

Rayne

dsthorn62
September 29th, 2012, 06:03 PM
Officer Coleman paused before the door to the cellar, for a moment of thought of all the horror movies he'd ever seen. He slowly turned around, his flashlight moving around the darkness. Some many times a killer would show up behind a person about to open a door. Seeing nothing but walls he turned back to the door. It was made of one piece of thick wood and painted green.There was a thick bolt,now pulled back and in the middle a little round knob. Coleman pulled the door open a crack with his left hand, With his right he shone his flashlight around the room, peering into the crack. He could see little this way so decided to enter the room. He flung open the door and it crashed against the wall. Coleman walked into the room his flashlight and gun out. What he saw stunned him. In the center of the room was a table of the same thick wood. There were straps on it to hold his victim and red and black candles stood at each corner. This was where he sacrificed his young victims.

HywelaLyn
September 29th, 2012, 06:24 PM
Thanks Rayne, appreciate your time doing this. This is from my current SF Romance.

An imposing and very solid looking wooden panelled door guarded the entrance.


Kerry checked the instrument on his wrist once more. “The signal is definitely coming from inside the building. It’s very strong now.” He drew his blaster and glanced behind him to where Katt stood near his shoulder, also holding her weapon.


Kerry gripped the large, metal handle, and turned it slowly. It moved a little, then jammed, as if the metal itself fought against him. He wasn’t about to risk his injured shoulder, even though it was to all intents and purposes now fully healed.


“Stand back!” he hissed and his blaster made short work of the handle mechanism, A push with his thick soled boot sent the door crashing inwards, hanging like a wounded creature on one hinge,


“Well if there’s anyone inside, they know we’re here now,” Katt remarked with dry humor.


“There isn’t,” Kerry said. Ignore her sarcasm. We have more serious things to worry about.
“There are no life-signs showing, they’d have registered on my comi-scan if anyone were here.”


“Come on then, if we’re going in."

He heard Katt tell the chameleopard to stay outside.“He understands what you say?” Two could play at being sarcastic.

“Not word for word, but he understands enough.”


They made their way cautiously around the crazily leaning door, scanning the giant shadows cast by their wrist flares for any movement caused by something other than themselves. Inside the building a damp chill enveloped them, although the outside temperature outside was warm.


“I don’t like it,” Katt whispered, “and my instincts aren’t often wrong. “

Rayne Hall
September 29th, 2012, 06:47 PM
Hi HywelaLyn,

>An imposing and very solid looking wooden panelled door guarded the entrance.<
This image is good. You could give it more power by tightening. For example, you don't need to tell the reader that it looked very solid, just use the word solid. And there's no need to tell the reader that it's imposing. The words solid and guarded create an imposing image. Any additional telling just weakens the picture.
Consider:
A solid wooden panelled door guarded the entrance.

>Kerry gripped the large, metal handle, and turned it slowly. It moved a little, then jammed, as if the metal itself fought against him.<
These are nice details, and the create a good psychological effect of difficulty and resistance. Three of the commas are superfluous. Instead of "fought" I recommend "was fighting" because it goes better with the "as if". Consider deleting the word "slowly". You could also delete the word "it" and possibly replace "turned" with a more vivid word. For example:

Kerry gripped the large metal handle and twisted. It moved a little, then jammed as if the metal itself was fighting against him.

>He wasn’t about to risk his injured shoulder, even though it was to all intents and purposes now fully healed.<

This sentence is a bit wordy, too, and the phrase "to all intents and purposes" is too cliched for this kind of scene, I think.
Consider tightening:
He could not risk his newly-healed shoulder.


>“Stand back!” he hissed and his blaster made short work of the handle mechanism, A push with his thick soled boot sent the door crashing inwards, hanging like a wounded creature on one hinge,<
This paragraph is confusing, though it probably just needs tidying of punctuation.


>“Well if there’s anyone inside, they know we’re here now,” Katt remarked with dry humor.<
Don't tell the reader that she remarks it with dry humour. The speech itself needs to come across as dry humour.
Consider: "Well, if anyone's inside, they know we're here now," Katt said.

I hope these suggestions help.

Rayne

HywelaLyn
September 29th, 2012, 06:57 PM
Thanks so much Rayne - that's just what I need. I know I have punctuation issues and can be too 'wordy' but it's surprising how one can overlook things oneself that are so obvious to someone else! I very much appreciate your help and will address everything you mention.

CAlinda
September 29th, 2012, 07:26 PM
Two minutes later, she stood before the heavy door to Reinhardt’s Hardware. Thick molding separated the lower half into two rectangles, mirror images of each other. Oval glass etched with the company initials and the year it was established—1854—was framed by dark oak with leaf designs. Had the etchings been colored when she was last here? Quit stalling. She had no choice but to walk inside and face the man she’d most wanted to avoid on this trip. One hand gripped the brass knob and the other tugged her suitcases across the wooden threshold. Overhead, a bell tinkled.

Bethanne
September 29th, 2012, 07:37 PM
Bethanne~
I am digging this story thus far! I am intrigued and want to read more! Well done!

Thank you bonelover13. :D
It's one of a series that I want to get out after the new year...

Bethanne
September 29th, 2012, 07:43 PM
Hi Bethanne,

I hope this helps.

Rayne

Thanks for the suggestions. I too hate that line about the dread...and I can easily remove the adverb. :D
And I can definitely beef up the door opening to create some sensations.

layssa
September 29th, 2012, 09:18 PM
Hi - sorry I'm late joining in. I'm in Australia. The scene from my WIP has the protagonist in her own space, doing routine things, unaware that the villain is waiting for her on the other side of the door. Scene is from villain's POV.
+++

Her tackroom was locked. A laser lock pick opened the padlock. Alain slipped inside and pulled the door closed. He eased aside the hessian screening the bars forming the top half of the front wall. All clear. Slipping his hand through the bars, he replaced the padlock and snapped it shut. </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>

He shrugged out of his jacket and hooked it over an empty saddlerack. After watching Steele from a distance for the last couple of weeks, he knew her routine better than he knew the Prime Minister's - and the hour was nearly up. </SPAN></SPAN>

He draped his shoulder holster over some bridles hung on the wall. </SPAN></SPAN>

No point giving the bitch any ideas... </SPAN></SPAN>

The ring of metal shoes against concrete made him tense. He heard Steele talking to the horse as she tethered it to the bars only inches behind him. Heard the slap of leather; the jangle of metal - all the sounds of a horse being unsaddled; and her voice, low and gentle, meant for the animal's ears alone. He listened to the rhythmic swipe of the brush, her mild rebuke when the animal shuffled its feet. </SPAN></SPAN>

Soon! </SPAN></SPAN>

He mentally followed the horse being led to its stall, then listened to the rustle of straw and her footsteps entering the feedroom.</SPAN></SPAN>

He'd be wringing the answers out of her soon.</SPAN></SPAN>

He counted each faint rasp of the metal scoop as it plunged into grain, then into chaff. An approving whicker signalled her return to the stall. </SPAN></SPAN>

In seconds from now, he'd be crushing her arrogance. </SPAN></SPAN>

Grain rained into a metal feedbin, and as he heard the stall door close, he made a conscious effort to breathe slowly. </SPAN></SPAN>

Who will you hide behind now, Steele? </SPAN></SPAN>

She tossed the bucket into the feedroom. </SPAN></SPAN>

Cole's not here to protect you this time.</SPAN></SPAN>

Antagonism burned deep in his gut as she walked the few paces to the tackroom; and as she inserted her key in the padlock, Alain hoped she would give him an excuse to break her neck. </SPAN></SPAN>

The door opened. Alain hauled her inside, his free hand shooting out to pull the door shut and slip the bolt home. A booted foot swung hard into his shin. He instantly slammed her back against the wall and teeth bared, pinned her there - her kicking and struggling and both of them ignoring the leads slithering to the floor. </SPAN></SPAN>

He laughed softly, coldly, mocking her puny strength; enjoying the horror dilating her furious eyes when he curled one hand around her throat. He marked her sudden stillness with a smile of pure relish. "All it takes is a little pressure of my thumb and you'll sleep forever." His nostrils registered her fear. "Tell me you're feeling sleepy, Steele," he coaxed.</SPAN>

+++Layssa
</SPAN>

Dawn Chandler
September 29th, 2012, 09:20 PM
The Foglands--Book One of a seven book series

She stepped closer to the shiny metal doors, unable to draw her gaze from her guilt ridden image. She stared and the pale reflection of herself stared back in contempt. Her complexion glowed eerily beneath the bloated moon and soft wisps of fog that now swirled in the once safe city, wrapped her in their eager embrace.
Could she brave the darkness, face the unspeakable creatures that lay in the dense fogs beyond the elevator? Even if she were brave enough to open those doors, could she find the girl, could she do anythingto help her?
Her hand reached unsteadily towards the keypad, its faint green glow like a warning beacon in the night. Her fingers trembled, she hesitated.
Her image in the reflective metal seemed to shimmer before her as the doors began to tremor.

Red Dragon
September 29th, 2012, 10:24 PM
<o:pFrom my wip, The Elfin Bride. What was just a door before this assignment is now:

A solitary silver door sprung up on the forest track, halting the two witches.They looked at each other in awe. “Where did that come from?” The youngest witch tried to walk around it but encountered an invisible barrier. “We must go though if we're to reach Vladi castle by nightfall.” She stretched out her hand toward the handle.

Her sister pulled her back. “Don’t touch it, Mira. The knob glows red. And see, a strange rubbery face has formed on the fa&#231;ade.”

The face on the door writhed in an ugly grin. “Turn back.” Its voice groaned like unoiled hinges. “Beware the vestal virgins.”

Mira laughed at the face and rapped it hard on its nose. “You can’t scare us. Gommera and I are the witches of the Western Veld. We do the scaring. Besides, virgins live in great temples. I see no temple here.”

“Mira, hush. He's screaming. The door– it’s cracked open. Run.”
</o<o:p
“No. I must see beyond it.” Mira pushed on the door. Sweet jasmine wafted from the vines around a tranquil pond. “Oh, a secret oasis. It’s beautiful.”

A young winged creature dressed in white raiment floated down from the trees. She beckoned them with a gentle smile.

The sisters looked from her to each other and then removed their tall pointed hats, shook down their matted hair and stepped across the threshold. A shower of steel petals pricked their skin. The door closed with a metallic clink and disappeared.

“Welcome,” their guide said in a guttural voice. “Welcome to the Temple of Sandingmont."</o

bonelover13
September 29th, 2012, 11:32 PM
Thank you Rayne for the advice. I sat down with my story and thought about your suggestions and what might work with the flow of the story and this is what I came up with. I am not sure if we are supposed to resubmit what we have after our changes, but here it is anyway:

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> “Get inside and sit down, we have a lot to talk about.” Mariana ordered as she pushed Tony into her humble store. The fragrance of incense and candles mixed with dust assaulted Tonys’ nose. He heard her slam the door shut and lock it. The sound of the click reverberated around making him feel anxious and unwelcomed. Mariana put the CLOSED sign in the window, dimmed the light, and drew the blinds. She did not want anyone to know they were there. She needed to keep moving to postpone the conversation that was inevitably going to happen. Her heart was pounding, her hands sweating, and she felt like she was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. As she let out along weighted sigh she faced her visitor whose face mirrored the fear that was coursing through her veins .
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bonelover13
September 29th, 2012, 11:33 PM
Where are your books available Bethanne?

JerryR
September 30th, 2012, 12:00 AM
Okay. hopefully I'm not as confused as I thought, since I saw assignments posted here.
This post is an excerpt from begnnin of my story Deadly Obsession. Don't know if it'll be a supene or
thriller .


Startled, Jessica Harmon opened her eyes and sat up in the bed. Shivering, she scanned the spacious semi-dark room. What was that sound? Gunshot? Car back firing? An intruder?
Her gaze shifted to the right and settled on the window and noted dark blue curtains flapped from the cold air blowing inside. Relief flowed through her veins at the sight of rain slapping against the pane. A sudden bright light streaked across the black sky lit the bedroom.
No wonder I’m cold.
Another noise, the same kind she’d heard earlier, blasted. A smile formed on her lips. Thunder
She shoved the blanket off her and got out of bed. Without putting on her bathrobe she strode across the carpet. Pausing at the window she lowered it to the sill. Um, I better check the kitchen window.
Another noise filled her ears. This time it came from inside the house and the kitchen in particular. She stopped near the kitchen door as a streak of lightning lit up the night sky. A quick glance at the window above the kitchen sink showed she didn’t close it, but she didn’t think it best to do that now. She stayed where she was for a few more seconds. Believing her imagination was getting the best of her she sucked in a deep breath and hurried across the cold linoleum, The moment the window was down she froze. Someone was in the kitchen with her.
The familiar odor of sweat and bad breath as well as marijuana f9illed her nostrils.
Trucker? Turning around while another streak of lightning lit up the sky Jessica got quick glimpse of a tall man standing several feet from her. “Trucker?”

LaciPaige
September 30th, 2012, 12:36 AM
Okay, Thank you! I got called out of the house all day. So I am just getting on here now.

~Laci



Hi Laci,
The assignment is to write 10-250 words about a character entering through a door.
Detailed instructions are in the ASSIGNMENTS folder.
Rayne

J.D. Faver
September 30th, 2012, 12:58 AM
Hi Rayne. This is a scene from my WIP wherein the heroine, a first year high-school teacher, is threatened by a student.

The door to the Teacher’s Lounge burst open, hitting the back of the wall. A scowling Omar Obregon’s huge form filled the doorway.
Cassie jumped, the hair on the back of her neck standing up as she caught Omar’s expression.
He was red-faced, his report card gripped in his fist. “I told you!” he yelled.
Miss Henley stepped aside as Omar advanced on them, his gaze focused on Cassie.
Cassie stepped back, trapped between the copy equipment and the wall.
“You’re going to be sorry you came here!” He drew back his fist.
Cassie ducked to one side to dodge the blow.
Omar’s fist collided with the wall above her. It crashed through the drywall in the spot where her face had been,
Instinctively, she covered her core with both arms and kicked out, her foot connecting with Omar’s knee. He fell back with a thud, screaming. Cassie danced away from the corner before he could recover.
But he wasn’t recovering. He sat on the floor bellowing. His mouth gaped open, an outraged yowl carrying out into the hallway. He cradled his hand against his chest, his beefy face contorted in pain.
The door opened and other teachers poured into the room. The assistant principal surveyed the scene and quickly ducked out.
A giant knot twisted Cassie’s stomach. Her heart racing, she pulled the cell phone out of her pocket and called Javier, her voice quavering when he answered.
“What’s up, baby?” Javi’s deep, reassuring voice wrapped around her like a protective cloak.
“Javi, could you come to the school? I think I’m in trouble.”

Tambra
September 30th, 2012, 04:00 AM
Hi Rayne,
This is from my WIP Seduced by the Darkness. A futuristic romance.
Caelan is the hero and he is a shifter. His grandmother is The Morrighan, his uncle is Arawn, a lord of the Celtic underworld.

Thank you very much!
Tambra Nicole
A finger-sized communicator vibrated at his waist. Caelan waved his hand across the sensor to activate the device. Caelan released a sigh. “What do you require, Havgan?”
“Watch your tone, dragon-breath. The Morrigan has a job for you.”
The surly tone stirred the darkness within Caelan. The de-throned lord of the Underworld’s presence always put him on edge.
Havgan materialized a few feet away. “We need a secure place to talk.”
Caelan gave Havgan an evil smirk. The urge to thrust his fist into Havgan’s face, to rip the flesh from bone proved almost impossible to quell. The fae-weakling pushed him more than usual today. May the gods help him keep what little self control he had left. Soon, Havgan would go too far and his grandmother, The Morrigan, would have to find another to do her bidding. Caelan would suffer her wrath for making her train another lackey, but he didn’t care.
“Back here.” He blew a soft puff of breath on the scanner plate, hidden on one of the stones embedded in the wall. One of the massive granite stones silently slide open, revealing a small room. The portal quickly closed, shutting out all sound. The walls shimmered with an unearthly substance.
Caelan grabbed the front of Havgan’s tunic and shoved him inside. “How did you know about the existence of this place?” Gods above, I have enough trouble. I don’t need anymore.

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 04:52 AM
Hi Jerry,
The Assignment is to write 10 - 250 words about a character entering through a door. Instructions are in the ASSIGNMENTS folder.
Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 04:55 AM
Hi Rusty,
The assignment is to write 10 - 250 words about a character entering through a door.
Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 05:13 AM
Hi CAlinda,

Bravo! You nailed the assignment exactly. This paragraph will increase the suspense. Now the reader is filled with tension about what will happen inside. Great job.

Here are some suggestions for you to consider, just minor tweaks. They may or may not suit your story. Use them if they suit, discard them if they don't.

Consider deleting this. When characters instruct themselves, the psychological effect this has on the reader is that the character is a wuss. Of course, in real life people give themselves mental instructions all the time, but in fiction, it can have this unwanted effect. (At least, I think it's unwanted.) The following sentence makes it clear enough that she wants to stall but overcomes it, so you don't need the self-instruction here.

>She had no choice but to walk inside and face the man she’d most wanted to avoid on this trip.< This sentence is good and strong. I'm wondering if you need "on this trip" - if not, consider deleting it. There's nothing wrong with those words, but the sentence will have more impact if it ends on the dramatic word "avoid"

>One hand gripped the brass knob and the other tugged her suitcases across the wooden threshold.<

These are good details, but the way you've written it, the experience loses some of its immediacy. It's usually best if the character does things, not their body parts. Presumably, she's a human not a remote controlled robot? ;-)
Consider something along these lines: With one hand, she gripped the brass knob. With the other, she tugged her suitcase across the wooden threshold.

I hope this helps.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 05:23 AM
Hi Devon,

You nailed the assignment. This is exactly the kind of paragraph that will increase the suspense.

To improve it further, I recommend just showing what he experiences, and not tell us his reactions to every little detail.
For example, this sentence contains great sound effects but it would be stronger if the hero didn't wince and hiss.

>Devon turned the brass knob slowly, wincing at the sound of the metal tumblers grinding together, stifling a hiss as the door hinges creaked.<

Consider something along the lines of

Devon turned the brass knob. Metal tumblers ground together and the door hinges creaked.

A movement to his right caught the corner of his eye and he flung himself out of the way as the door suddenly slammed shut.

Here, the action is very fast. I suggest adapting your writing style to suit the very fast action. By using very short sentences and no superfluous words, you can create a sense of speed and breathlessness. For example:

On his right, something moved. He flung himself out of the way. The door slammed shut.

Of course, such very short sentences would be tedious if used too often, but one line of very short sentences can be very effective.

>He crept closer, pausing for a moment with his ear near the wooden panel.<

Perhaps my suggestion wouldn't be right in the context, but I think this sentence would be more vivid like this:

He crept closer and pressed his ear against the wooden panel.

I hope you find something helpful among my suggestions.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 05:26 AM
I find it much easier to curb other writer's wordiness than my own. ;-)

ColleenS
September 30th, 2012, 06:15 AM
The door waited, plain wood framed by stone and hinged in iron. No sound came from beyond.

Lidia cat-footed beneath the sharp-eyed gazes of painted forefathers, touched her fingers to its unvarnished surface and pushed. She had not expected it to swing smoothly inwards, but slid swiftly through when it did.

There was no time to slide back out again. Even as she backpedaled towards it, Lidia heard the door click firmly shut behind her.

Red Dragon
September 30th, 2012, 06:42 AM
Hi Rusty,
The assignment is to write 10 - 250 words about a character entering through a door.
Rayne
Hi Rayne, I did follow the assignment. I described the door, albeit a magical talking door. I showed one witch's anxiety regarding the door, the other's curiosity and they did enter through the door at their peril. I'm confused. Sorry.

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 06:58 AM
Hi CherylYeko,

This is fine.

The second and third sentences are powerful.

For the second sentence, consider one small change to make it even more powerful: delete "filling her with dread." The first part "The sharp clang reverberated in the room like a death knell." is so awesome and conveys the sense of dread so strongly the the addition isn't necessary and actually weakens the effect.In my opinion, anyway; you may not agree.

The first sentence doesn't work for me yet. Three reasons:
1. Shallow point of view. It doesn't convey her experience. I assume she's the person flung over the shoulder? I think she may have a unique perspective and that would be an experience worth sharing.
2. The word "shoulder" is used twice in one sentence. It also makes me worried that he how it feels to Casey if he rams the door with the shoulder she's flung over, though that can be clarified easily to show it's the other shoulder he uses.
3. There's a lot going on in this sentence. I suggest splitting this into two or three separate sentences.

I hope these suggestions help.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:02 AM
Hi Brennan,
You've conveyed the PoV of the blind person well here, using the other senses.
Consider expanding the "door" moment. The bits you have are good, but they get lost. To get the full impact, show the door as some kind of psychological threshold or barrier.

By the way, you've used the word "tremor" three times closely together.

>Her voice held a slight TREMOR. “Uh, there are two steps up to the porch.”
I reached out with my other hand for the rail. A faint tREMOR flowed from her soft fingers so slightly others would no doubt miss it. “It’s ok, how many steps to the door?” TREMOR turned to shake.<

I believe that the third is an intentional repetition of the second, but perhaps the first could go?

I hope this helps.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:04 AM
Hi JD,
The assignment is to write 10-250 words about a character entering through a door. Instructions are in the ASSIGNMENTS folder.
Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:10 AM
Hi Charlayne,

Is this Adrian's PoV or omniscient PoV? It seems to waver between the two. Perhaps it would be best to write this completely from Adrian's PoV and to go deep into his PoV, but of course this depends on the PoV strategy you've chosen for the whole story.

If you choose Adrian's PoV, this sentence

>Through the rubble of the marble crypt door, two small, brown hands reached under Adrian’s shoulders and quickly dragged his large body into the dark, forbidding grave.< would be different, since Adrian would feel the hands rather than see their colour, and he would not think of his own body as "large" in this situation.

You may also want to avoid Passive Voice where possible.

I hope these thoughts are useful.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:14 AM
Hi Monica,

This is fine. The sound of the deadbolts sliding into place creates a good psychological effect of captivity.
Instead of "closing" consider a more vivid verb, one which shows how she closes it. Does she push it shut, pull it shut, slide it shut, slam it?

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:17 AM
Hi,
The description of the "sturdy, dark mahogany door" is fine - I can see it, and I get the sense of the psychological barrier. Perhaps there is too much emphasis on her hands - first she presses both against the door, then she puts one her bosom and the other on the handle.
Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:25 AM
Hi Dawn,

This an interesting use of the "door effect" with the PoV's own reflection providing the psychological barrier. It think this works well.

The writing style in this excerpt strikes me as a bit "purple prose-ish" - I don't know if this is intentional. If yes, fine. :-)
If not, I think that simple tightening in some places would reduce the purple. This will also make your heroine appear less like a wimp (I assume you want her to be frightened but not a wimp - though I may be mistaken), increase the vividness and create more impact.
For example, instead of

>Her hand reached unsteadily towards the keypad, its faint green glow like a warning beacon in the night. Her fingers trembled, she hesitated.<

consider simply
The keypad glowed green like a warning beacon.

I hope this suggestion is worth thinking about (even if you decide not to use it)

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:32 AM
Hi dsthorn62,

Overall, this works.


>He flung open the door and it crashed against the wall.<

This sentence is excellent: Tight, vivid, fast-pace. Your choice of verbs (flung, crashed) is highly effective; each reveals so much about the character, the goal, the mood and the situation in a single syllable.

You might choose to polish the paragraph to enhance your writing style. For example, you may want to avoid the words "turn" "there was" and "there were" which are overused by beginner writers.

You could also tighten it a little. Instead of consider
>Officer Coleman paused before the door to the cellar, for a moment of thought of all the horror movies he'd ever seen. He slowly turned around, his flashlight moving around the darkness.<

Consider:
Officer Coleman paused before the door to the cellar and shone his flashlight around the darkness.

I hope these suggestions help.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 07:34 AM
Hi Laryssa,
The assignment is to write 10-250 words about a character entering through a door on their way to danger. The instructions are in the ASSIGNMENTS folder.
Rayne

layssa
September 30th, 2012, 07:54 AM
A long hot shower was the only thing on her mind as she unlocked her front door.
The door closed with a sharp click. Her case hit the floor with a dull thud. Her damp shoes followed. She trudged into the silent unit.</SPAN></SPAN>
‘Where have you been?’</SPAN></SPAN>
Shock whipped Alex around. Wade?

Livia Quinn
September 30th, 2012, 10:07 AM
Is this from a soon to be released book? What wold the pen name or title be? I'm dying to read more.
Livia

Livia Quinn
September 30th, 2012, 10:44 AM
Please excuse the duplicate post. It looks like I posted in the wrong place somehow. I'll try to delete it. Fantastic seminar, Rayne. Thanks so much.

Livia OTHR

Something brushed the front door.
Brenna whirled, the apparition on the other side freezing the breath in her lungs. Starkly outlined by the intermittent lightning, was the dark shadow of a man, a menacing dark form, moving back and forth like a shadow boxer.
Her scream was absorbed by a loud blast of thunder as she dove to the floor, her eyes locked on the cabin’s entrance. In the flickering light the phantom’s raised arm looked like a coiled snake about to strike.
Crab-walking toward the couch, she searched for a weapon, seized the iron shovel from the fireplace and scurried toward the door.
Had he seen her? An invisible fist had a grip on her lungs. Calm. Even with the noise outside, she felt like she could hear her blood thumping in her ears. He could probably hear her ragged breathing. Take small shallow breaths.
Broken glass spilled from the door's window pane near her feet and her fingernails dug into to her palms as she gripped the iron tighter in a batter’s grip. She flattened her body against the wall as more jagged pieces of glass fell to the floor. All her attention was on the hand reaching through the opening.
Unlocking the door.
Turning the handle.

Charlayne
September 30th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Is this from a soon to be released book? What wold the pen name or title be? I'm dying to read more.
Livia

I hope to get it published next year. It should be under my name. I'm still working on it, it's my first novel. I'm on Facebook under my name so I'll post there when it goes, finally, to a publisher. Thanks for the encouragement.

Charlayne
September 30th, 2012, 10:54 AM
Hi Charlayne,

Is this Adrian's PoV or omniscient PoV? It seems to waver between the two. Perhaps it would be best to write this completely from Adrian's PoV and to go deep into his PoV, but of course this depends on the PoV strategy you've chosen for the whole story.

If you choose Adrian's PoV, this sentence

>Through the rubble of the marble crypt door, two small, brown hands reached under Adrian’s shoulders and quickly dragged his large body into the dark, forbidding grave.< would be different, since Adrian would feel the hands rather than see their colour, and he would not think of his own body as "large" in this situation.

You may also want to avoid Passive Voice where possible.

I hope these thoughts are useful.

Rayne

It's omniscient POV. It is helpful, I'm still working through first draft on this story, my first. Thanks for the help.

Charlayne

James Hatch
September 30th, 2012, 11:45 AM
Evaluating the criminally insane isn’t my forté, but I have the least seniority of any Social Services psychologist on staff. Therefore, I am the one staring into the security camera at the facility’s ominous wrought iron gate as a static-laden New York accent intones over the loudspeaker, “Name and purpose of visit?”

I place my department badge on the reader and smile politely. “Jeremy Walker – Vic Demint interview.”

A short delay precedes the whir of motors and screeching hinges as the gate opens, and the crackling voice adds, “See the Building Six guard.” Odd – Vic is normally in Building One.

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 11:53 AM
Hi Tambra,
This part here is the actual assignment:
>He blew a soft puff of breath on the scanner plate, hidden on one of the stones embedded in the wall. One of the massive granite stones silently slide open, revealing a small room. The portal quickly closed, shutting out all sound.<

It's good. Be careful with the use of adverbs; you have two close together (silently, quickly). Some editors hate adverbs with passion; I wouldn't go that far, but it's always worth considering if there's a way to avoid them, because they're less vivid than verbs.
Here, my suggestion (based on my personal taste, which not every reader shares) is to keep the first adverb (silently) but to get rid of the second (quickly) by choosing a more vivid verb. Instead of "The portal quickly closed" (an unexciting verb "closed" supported by the adverb "quickly") consider a verb which conveys the speed of the movement. How about: The portal snapped shut.

I've spotted a typo: instead of "slide" I think you mean "slid"

I hope these suggestions help.

Rayne

Kathleen Frost
September 30th, 2012, 11:57 AM
Sorry, Didn't get a message about the class until Sunday morning.

Gypsy shut off the engine of the ancient mini-camper. The engine needed servicing badly and chugged to a halt. In the dusty ranch yard, the camper pinged loudly as it cooled. Her gaze swept from the house to the large barn and on to the scattered outbuildings and corrals. No one was in sight. Maybe that was a sign she should just drive away. Who would know? Her conscience hit her chest like a hammer. She would know. </SPAN>
Suddenly, a man appeared in the barn doorway. He was tall, ranch-work hard, and far from welcoming. She could see his suspicious scowl at having an unexpected visitor even with his face shaded by his worn Stetson. As he started towards her camper, Gypsy wanted to switch on the engine and run for her life…but there was another life at stake. The woman in her vision. The woman who might even now be dead and buried on this ranch. She couldn’t run without knowing the truth. Taking a deep breath to boost her courage, she pushed down the stubborn door handle. The metal on metal screech of the rusty hinges reminded her once more that she needed to do better at dealing with her own life. Maybe once she’d delivered her message, if they believed her, maybe then she could drive away and find time for her a life of her own. </SPAN>

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 12:06 PM
Hi Colleen,

This is good. You've grasped the essence of the assignment perfectly.

I like it that the door "waited" - this emphasises the psychological effect and hints that at the inevitable.

I had to read the first sentence twice to understand it. It's grammatically correct, but you may want to tweak it nevertheless to make it easier for the reader. How about simply adding another noun to the sentence:
The entrance waited, a plain wooden door framed by stone and hinged in iron.
(Personally, I like the rhythm of this version, but it's up to you to decide if this suits your writing style.)

>She had not expected it to swing smoothly inwards, but slid swiftly through when it did.<

I'm afraid this sentence doesn't work for me. There's nothing wrong with it; it's just not great. Consider changing four things: Instead of telling us what she had not expected, tell us what she expected, or show how nothing happens at first. Instead of burying the mention of the movement under layers of clauses, make a big show of it. Change Past Perfect Tense to Simple Past Tense. Insert a sound

For example (I'm ad libbing here):
Nothing happened. Had it failed? Then a faint rattle reverberated through the wall, followed by a squeak. The wall swung smoothly inwards. At once, she slid through.

I hope these ideas help.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 12:13 PM
Hi Laryssa,
These are good sound effects - the sharp click and the dull thud.

I'm a bit confused, though. This is Alex's point of view, yes? If so, she wouldn't be focused on the sounds the case makes.

How about:
She dropped the heavy case on the floor on tossed off her damp shoes.

I recommend letting us hear the "Where have you been" the way Alex hears it before she reacts to it. The best way to achieve this may be to add a short sentence describing the voice, for example:

"Where have you been?" a male voice boomed.
or
"Where have you been?" The voice came from the hall, deep and angry.

I hope these thoughts are helpful.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 12:24 PM
Hi Livia,

Exciting stuff. You're using the technique of varying sentence lengths to great effect.

Consider tightening. I believe your writing style will become be more dramatic and exciting if you use fewer words. Here are two examples.

Instead of
>Something brushed the front door.
Brenna whirled, the apparition on the other side freezing the breath in her lungs. Starkly outlined by the intermittent lightning, was the dark shadow of a man, a menacing dark form, moving back and forth like a shadow boxer.<

consider:
>Something brushed the front door.
Brenna whirled. The dark shape of a man, starkly outlined by the intermittent light, moved back and forth like a shadow boxer.<


Instead of
Even with the noise outside, she felt like she could hear her blood thumping in her ears.

Consider:
She heard the blood thump in her ears.

This is just a suggestion, of course. Only you can know what style suits your stories.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 12:31 PM
Hi James,

This works well. Everything seems harmless and normal on the surface, yet by inserting this barrier you've planted a seed of disquiet in the reader's mind. That's good. :-)

I like the voice you've used for your narrator. I get the sense of someone who's educated, routined, at ease with the wheeles of bureaucracy.

>A short delay precedes the whir of motors and screeching hinges as the gate opens<

Although this is consistent with the narrator's voice, I think it would read better if the verbs carrying the action were more vivid than "precedes" and "opens" and perhaps a slight restructuring could achieve a stronger rhythm:

After a short delay, motors whir, hinges screech, and the gate swings open.

I hope this suggestion is useful. If not, just ignore it. :-)

Rayne

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 12:40 PM
Hi Kathy,

>Her gaze swept from the house to the large barn and on to the scattered outbuildings and corrals.<

You can increase the immediacy here by letting Gypsy do this, not just her gaze. Consider:
Gypsy scanned the house, the large barns, the scattered outbuildings and the corrals.


>Suddenly, a man appeared in the barn doorway.<

Consider making more of this. Instead of "appear" (which is a bland sort of word) is there perhaps another verb you could use?

>She could see his suspicious scowl at having an unexpected visitor even with his face shaded by his worn Stetson.<

Try to avoid "could see" - she is the Pov, therefore anything you describe is something she could see. Perhaps you could write a sentence along the lines of "His Stetson-shaded face scowled at her."

>she pushed down the stubborn door handle.<

nice

>The metal on metal screech of the rusty hinges reminded her once more that she needed to do better at dealing with her own life. <

The screeching noise is good. But I don't think the screeching hinges would inspire her to philosophise in this particular situation. She's scared, right? So the last thing she would do is thing about the metaphorical meaning of rusty hinges.
Consider changing this to a simple short sentence about the sound, perhaps:
Metal screeched on metal.
or:
Rusty hinges screeched.

All these are just suggestions for you to play with.

HTH.

Rayne

Mairhi
September 30th, 2012, 03:43 PM
Hope this is the right place to post...the door assignment.

"Wow, that's a lot of steps."
She looked up at the door. Decorated for fall it should have felt welcoming, but it didn't. The closer she got to the door, the faster her heart raced. She chided herself for being afraid, this house was just like every other one on the block. Finally reaching the porch she paused, "I can do this". Taking a deep breath, she raised her hand and paused just before it made contact. She stepped back and regrouped, "I can do this". Stepping up to the door, she quickly rapped three times. Holding her breath, waiting for a reply to her knock, she strained to hear if someone would answer. What she heard had her breath rushing from her lungs, and her heart pounding. Stomp, drag, stomp, drag. Her eyes glued themselves to the doorknob.
Slowly the door opened, to reveal a smiling, little old lady. "How can I help you child? Why don't you come on in?"
Stepping forward, she cautiously began to enter the house. Without warning the door slammed into her, making her push to open it. It took everything she had to push the door open, tumbling in when the door gave way. Righting herself, she reached for the door, an electrical shock making her pull her hand away. Reaching again to close the door she startled when the door snapped shut on its own. Hearing the lock click into place made the hair on her body rise. Turning she watched as one of the slide bolts slowly slid home on its own. Trapped. Trapped by the little old witch.

Rayne Hall
September 30th, 2012, 04:38 PM
Hi Mairhi,

You got the point of this assignment exactly. To make this stronger, I suggest using fewer words on describing her reactions, and indeed, cutting some of her reactions altogether. This way, the reader will get the reactions instead. :-)

Don't tell us where she looks and that she watches something - just show us what she sees.

On the other hand, you could flesh out the descriptions of the door. What does the door itself look like? The steps leading up to it? The fall decorations? What does the door sound like when it opens?

I've taken the liberty and played with this a little, rewriting it in my style. Your style is probably very different from mine, and some of what I've written won't suit your story at all, but if there's anything you like, feel free to use it. Use the rest as inspiration to come up with your own (better) ideas.



At least a hundred steps of grey granite led up to the entrance, and with every step, [name's] heart raced faster, but she forced herself on. The door, adorned with branches of red and yellow autumn leaves, should have looked welcoming. Instead, the scarlet ribbons streamed like blood and the arrangement oozed menace.

She braced herself and knocked.

Slowly, the door creaked open, revealing an old woman. The crinkled lips smiled. "How can I help you, child? Why don't yo come in?"

The place smelled of beeswax and freshly baked bread. [Name] stepped into the corridor and turned to close the door behind her, but it snapped shut of its own.

The lock clicked into place and the bolts slid home.

Trapped. Trapped by the little old witch.

What do you think?

Rayne

Kathleen Frost
September 30th, 2012, 05:39 PM
Thanks for your comments.

Sorry, the original line about the "rusty hinges" involved her being reminded that she needed to get out the WD-40 and do some maintenance on the ancient camper as well as on her own life. I revised it at one point and that part was lost. She's alone and rootless, living day to day, no goal for tomorrow much less the future. Her life is as ill maintained as her camper.


Background: Gypsy was dumped at a day care at 6 under a false name and her mother never returned for her. She ran away from several foster care situations because she wasn't able to control her visions. The family would be scared of her or disbelieving and angry. She'd get beaten or thrown out. The little mini-home/camper is older than she is, all she could afford. Someone will tell her later if she hits a bump just right, the rust will disintergrate the whole camper shell around her. She has no home except the wheels under her. She travels to touristy places, does watercolors and acrylic paintings to sell cheap for food and gas. Her visions come to her and take over. She draws them with her eyes closed, not wanting to see the nightmares that come from somewhere deep in her mind. She hates that victims of violent crimes seek her out to return them from their hidden graves to their families. She use to send the drawings to the police but was arrested twice (later cleared) because she knew too much about the crimes. Now, she sends them anonymously to a local paper or prosecuter's office. She hopes this vision (one with more urgency to it than usual) will be one of the few future ones, that the woman is still alive, but she doesn't know how her vision will be accepted by the owner of the ranch.

Kathy

Tambra
September 30th, 2012, 09:10 PM
Hi Rayne,

Thanks so much for the critique. I'll do as you suggest. I had to search to find a scene that fit your assignment. A bit embarrassed I squeaked by on this one.

Hugs,
Tambra

MGEdwards
September 30th, 2012, 11:01 PM
Hi Rayne,
I like it. Tweaking those little details can make all the difference with the scene. Thanks!

Monica

Mairhi
October 1st, 2012, 07:31 AM
Thank you for taking the time to review my work, and thank you for the advice. I've just begun to write and your input was invaluable to me
-Mairhi

glory123
October 1st, 2012, 01:06 PM
Hi Glory 123,
I'm afraid I don't get it. Where is she walking through a doorway on her way to danger? The only doors mentioned are ones that she either doesn't enter or don't lead to danger.
Would you like to have another go?
Rayne

Hi Rayne, sorry, I jumped in without thinking - here's another try -

<!--><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> A car door slammed, Anna heard the faint roar of an engine starting and thought of Alan, waiting for her. Silent, standing in the washroom before the cracked mirror she wondered what to do next. [I]Should she go back with him? Shivering at the thought she moved through the washroom door, across the empty space towards the exit. Scarcely able to control her shaking legs, she saw the cleared counter, felt the eerie stillness of the one-story building now shrouded in darkness. Where was the mechanic? He must be near; he might be able to help her. She was alone


Anna pushed at the exit door, saw the starry sky, as footsteps broke the silence. She turned quickly, her eyes locked onto him. Unmoving, he stared back at her. She heard her own gasp as his body arched and he started towards her. With hands clenched at his side, his wide eyes travelled her body. She couldn’t breathe; her mind refused to believe what was happening. Her mouth opened but her scream was caught in his hand as he rammed it against her mouth, drawing blood that tasted salty against her teeth. His other arm crept around her waist drawing her close, pulling her back through the door across the empty space. Anna could smell his sour sweat, feel the wetness of his mouth against her cheek. His hand moved, covered the bottom half of her face until her breath became a shallow gasp that racked her chest and she knew she was dying.
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Dr Joan
October 1st, 2012, 02:16 PM
Luci, Brea, andRheanne entered the stone corridor. They could still hear the noises of thestreet. The horses whinnying. The creaking of the carriage harness. The hiss ofthe gas lights. The stone corridor looked to be well used with muddy tracksleading the way toward the reinforced doors at the end.

Luci opened up hersenses to see if she could still feel Andre and Cleo behind the door. She nodded and they moved forward quickly.Brea and Rheanne directed their perception at the massive reinforced door. Itpresented both magical and physical challenges.
"I think that we will be able to unlockthe signals and the physical locks easily without alerting the others of ourpresence here" Brea stated using mindspeak.
They joined handsand minds to start unlocking the door.
The massive wood andmetal door slowly swung open to darkness.

Thanks Joan

ColleenS
October 3rd, 2012, 05:03 PM
Thanks Rayne

These suggestions and ideas are great. I'm glad you could help with that second sentence; I couldn't get the jolly thing to do quite what I wanted and now I can play a bit more with it. Much appreciated.

Thank you

Hi Colleen,

This is good. You've grasped the essence of the assignment perfectly.

I like it that the door "waited" - this emphasises the psychological effect and hints that at the inevitable.

I had to read the first sentence twice to understand it. It's grammatically correct, but you may want to tweak it nevertheless to make it easier for the reader. How about simply adding another noun to the sentence:
The entrance waited, a plain wooden door framed by stone and hinged in iron.
(Personally, I like the rhythm of this version, but it's up to you to decide if this suits your writing style.)

>She had not expected it to swing smoothly inwards, but slid swiftly through when it did.<

I'm afraid this sentence doesn't work for me. There's nothing wrong with it; it's just not great. Consider changing four things: Instead of telling us what she had not expected, tell us what she expected, or show how nothing happens at first. Instead of burying the mention of the movement under layers of clauses, make a big show of it. Change Past Perfect Tense to Simple Past Tense. Insert a sound

For example (I'm ad libbing here):
Nothing happened. Had it failed? Then a faint rattle reverberated through the wall, followed by a squeak. The wall swung smoothly inwards. At once, she slid through.

I hope these ideas help.

Rayne

Rayne Hall
November 4th, 2012, 09:01 PM
Hi Joan,

That last sentence is awesome: >The massive wood andmetal door slowly swung open to darkness.<

>They could still hear the noises of the street. The horses whinnying. The creaking of the carriage harness. The hiss ofthe gas lights. <
I suggest stringing these sentence fragments together into a complete sentence. Fragments make choppy reading, although they can be effective in fast-paced action scenes.
Here, I think a complete sentence would work better.
They could still hear the the horses whinnying in the street, the creaking of the carriage harness and the hiss of the gas lights.
Or, if you want more dramatic punctuation, try a colon:
They could still hear the noises of the street: the horses whinnying, the creaking of the carriage harness,the hiss ofthe gas lights.

I hope this helps.
Rayne





Luci, Brea, andRheanne entered the stone corridor. They could still hear the noises of thestreet. The horses whinnying. The creaking of the carriage harness. The hiss ofthe gas lights. The stone corridor looked to be well used with muddy tracksleading the way toward the reinforced doors at the end.

Luci opened up hersenses to see if she could still feel Andre and Cleo behind the door. She nodded and they moved forward quickly.Brea and Rheanne directed their perception at the massive reinforced door. Itpresented both magical and physical challenges.
"I think that we will be able to unlockthe signals and the physical locks easily without alerting the others of ourpresence here" Brea stated using mindspeak.
They joined handsand minds to start unlocking the door.
The massive wood andmetal door slowly swung open to darkness.

Thanks Joan

Dr Joan
November 5th, 2012, 06:31 PM
Thank you so much for getting back to me. It was difficult for me to post within the time limits due to my home situation. My husband is on hospice. I thank you for your comments and appreciate the constructive enhancement to my writing. Definitely an improvement to put the sentences together. Now for a decision to use the colon or a comma. Hope that you have a wonderful day and upcoming holiday season. Joan