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View Full Version : Exercise 1 --Descriptive Paragraph from Inside the Character



Laurie2
August 5th, 2008, 08:24 PM
Okay, I've presented a lot of information, but learning becomes much more concrete when it is practiced and reinforced, so it is time for the first exercise.

In the workshops I've taught up to this point I think it is safe to say that most of the learning came from the exercise portion of the workshop.

I encourage you to post your own exercise. I will be going over them a few each day. We will stop here...no new lecture/lesson portions for a few days while we practice what we've already covered.

Don't despair. We've still only scratched the surface. Once we're all feeling comfy with the material presented so far I'll be back to talk about using deep point of view in dialogue, how deep point of view can help you work with flawed characters, and how deep point of view can kick the sexual tension in your novel up by more than a few degrees regardless of the sensuality level you are writing.

Even if you are strapped for time and do not have time to participate by posting an exercise, I would encourage you to read the exercises and mark ups posted by others. Many past workshop participants learned a great deal from this portion of the workshop.

So...here's what I want for this exercise.

I want one paragraph
I want it to be a descriptive scene...where the physical location is described
I want it to incorporate at a minimum three of the four parts of the character's reality (mental, emotional, physical)
I want the vantage point of the narrator to be inside the viewpoint character.
Ready...set...go!

opghost
August 5th, 2008, 08:36 PM
The rumbles of the crowd jolted Constance back to the present. She trembled as the rumbles grew once more into angered shouts. Her heart fell into her stomach and her knees weakened. She looked into the crowd and was startled by the sight of Martha, tears streaming down her face, hand outstretched toward Constance. She wondered why her sister was in the crowd. Martha fled to the Colony of Rhode Island months ago.

Cindy Maday
August 5th, 2008, 09:18 PM
As Sherri backed out of the driveway, she stopped and wrote down the number on the For Sale Sign. Taking a glance back at the house, she knew she had waited a life time for this house. Pulling out her cell phone, she wasted no time dialing the number.
“Good morning. How may I help you?”
“My name is Sherri Maloney. I’m calling about the house on Rainbow lane.”
“Just one minute, I’ll put you through to Mr. Sanders.”
Reality hit Sherri, when she realized she had just called about a home and she didn’t even have a job. She was definitely losing her mind. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to hang up the phone.

Scarlet.Skye
August 6th, 2008, 01:33 PM
Sarah leaned forward in her seat, her eyes wide, as she peered out the dusty front windshield of the rickety old pick up. She groaned as her already nauseous stomach lurched while the tires sought out every dip and bump on the unforgiving dirt driveway that led to the place that was to be her new home. She sank back in her seat, raking her hands through her hair as the reality of her situation began to truly sink in, though her eyes remained fixated on the massive red brick farmhouse that grew larger with every second as they drove closer and closer.
“Shit” Sarah whispered, what she thought was too quietly for Tim to hear, the notion quickly flying out the window when she watched as his face draw up into a knowing and cocky smile.
“Let’s just get this over with!” She barked and let out an exaggerated sigh, before reaching over and giving him a quick shot in the arm, the knowledge that he was enjoying her discomfort so, making her nervousness all that more real.
“Jerk” Sarah mumbled as she bit back a smile, half of her frustrated with her current situation, the other half secretly enjoying the banter with her new friend who seemed more like a brother to her after just a short drive.

:dunno:

Jean Kelli
August 6th, 2008, 01:48 PM
He was waiting for her....
Cami's heels echoed across the marble floor of the rotunda of The Swanson estate. The thud of her own heartbeat filled her head, causing her temples to ache. Each click of her heel was weighted with the surreality that her life was no longer what she'd known it to be. Even the mere echo of the rotunda was changed. She'd walked across it a thousand times over in her life, yet now its echo was made greater by the walls stripped bare of their art pieces, which had been hauled off weeks ago in police vans. In one swift and defining moment, she'd lost everything. Her family estate, her legacy. Her identity.
She felt nothing of her formerly feisty, confident self. Nor that familiar nakedness for not wearing makeup, jewelry, or perfume. She was too faded to bother with such accessories today, resigning herself to be numbly barren, stripped, just like the walls of this home.

Laurie2
August 7th, 2008, 03:30 PM
The Original:


The rumbles of the crowd jolted Constance back to the present. She trembled as the rumbles grew once more into angered shouts. Her heart fell into her stomach and her knees weakened. She looked into the crowd and was startled by the sight of Martha, tears streaming down her face, hand outstretched toward Constance. She wondered why her sister was in the crowd. Martha fled to the Colony of Rhode Island months ago.

The Markup:

The rumbles of the crowd [rumble of the crowd isn't bad...but can you make this so that I can hear it...feel it? I know you bring in more detail later...but it is usually a good idea to anchor with the strongest details...so that the reader is anchored in the scene at the outset. Perhaps something like the angry snarls of the crowd gives me more information. If you provide even more detail...that would be good as well. Are the jeers chants in unison or are they independent jeers? Can she hear any specific words out of the rumble? Look for specific details that help your reader experience what your viewpoint character experiences.] jolted Constance back to the present. She trembled as the rumbles grew once more into angered shouts. [Again...try to make this so that I can hear the words...feel the energy of the crowd...is the crowd moving closer...pressing in on her? Remember you are trying to make the character EXPERIENCE what the character experiences. The richer her experience the richer it will be for the reader] Her heart fell into her stomach and her knees weakened. [First of all...you need to tell the reader a bit more. You need to show the crowd closing in on her. Their voices, their chants becoming more angry, their threats more vile. Then you have a big reason for her to feel fear...for her stomach to fall and her knees to feel weak. Stomachs falling and knees weakening are a bit cliche but in a way we use them because they work. Our stomachs falling and our knees weakening is what we feel when we get afraid. However, it is stronger if you describe the PHYSICAL FEELING of her stomach falling...what does that FEEL LIKE? The same with her knees? How does it feel when your knees feel weak? Describe THE FEELING rather than summarizing it and it will be a much stronger experience for your reader.] She looked into the crowd and was startled by the sight of Martha, tears streaming down her face, hand outstretched toward Constance [her]. [She needs a knee jerk emotional reaction...early...]She wondered why her sister was in the crowd. Martha fled to the Colony of Rhode Island months ago.

The paragraph as it was written wasn't bad...but punching up the level of detail...bringing in some new details that add to the sense of danger...describing the crowd and the sounds changing rather than as largely static...would all strengthen this sample.

Elm Smith
August 7th, 2008, 08:28 PM
The old hotel’s lobby with its patterned carpet and plush furniture is an inviting place. Heavy maroon drapes frame the windows while ivory sheers protect those within from the harsh afternoon sun. Isadora sits on one of the sofas reading the latest Stephanie Plum novel. She takes great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he will receive what he deserves by the end of the book. Engrossed in the story, the swoosh of the revolving door barely registers. Still it draws her attention. The man standing there holds a pair of dark sunglasses in his hand. Although not wearing a suit and tie, he looks confident in his smart, yet casual clothes. Like a moth to a flame, Isadora feels drawn to him. Caught staring, Isadora drops her gaze. Nervous, she hurriedly tries to find her place on the page as he joins her on the sofa.

Elm

JudeAZ
August 8th, 2008, 12:48 AM
Jamie Jones stared, stunned and unaware of anything but the young Anglo woman approaching him and the sudden loud rush of blood in his ears. The normal jingling harnesses and creaking wagons and clopping hooves along <st1:city w:st="on"><st1></st1>Tucson</st1:city>’s busiest street disappeared. The air no longer held the aromas of manure and dust, the hot summer wind no longer stirred his hair as it had mere seconds ago. Hundreds of people going about their business, laughing and chatting, no longer existed—only this goddess. She walked as though heat and harsh sunlight solely bothered piddling mortals. Tall and curvaceous, she could have stepped from the pages of the latest fashion magazines of 1904 with her smart navy blue gabardine suit and straw boater perched jauntily atop a pile of golden hair, barely shading pale porcelain skin from the desert sun. Jaime realized he’d been gawking and closed his mouth. He remained silent and touched his Stetson to her as she passed. She stared beyond him as though he did not exist. Nowadays newcomers from the East saw his brown skin and blue-black hair and assumed an air of superiority. He knew he favored his mestizo mother in appearance and ignored such bias most of the time. But today the rejection stung, and for the first time, he felt diminished.

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 08:23 AM
The Original

The old hotel’s lobby with its patterned carpet and plush furniture is an inviting place. Heavy maroon drapes frame the windows while ivory sheers protect those within from the harsh afternoon sun. Isadora sits on one of the sofas reading the latest Stephanie Plum novel. She takes great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he will receive what he deserves by the end of the book. Engrossed in the story, the swoosh of the revolving door barely registers. Still it draws her attention. The man standing there holds a pair of dark sunglasses in his hand. Although not wearing a suit and tie, he looks confident in his smart, yet casual clothes. Like a moth to a flame, Isadora feels drawn to him. Caught staring, Isadora drops her gaze. Nervous, she hurriedly tries to find her place on the page as he joins her on the sofa.

Elm

The Mark Up:

[First thing I notice is this is not observed BY anyone. The author, or some unseen voice who has no anchor in the scene is telling me about the old hotel. Always anchor with a character's name so that the details are being experienced BY the CHARACTER...so that the reader can experience them as well. Remember, the WHOLE POINT is the READER'S EXPERIENCE--and the reader will experience more through the character's experience than through what they are told by the author. To illustrate what I mean...starting off with Isadora looked around the old hotel's lobby. The lobby with its patterned carpet...is much stronger...and puts THE READER in the lobby with Isadora.] [The second thing I notice is the verb tense. Most romantic fiction is told in past tense rather than present tense. Rather than the old hotel's lobby with its patterned carpet and plush furniture the IS it should be WAS...rather than heavy drapes FRAME it should be FRAMED. I will correct tenses in purple so you get an idea what I mean. :)] The old hotel’s lobby with its patterned carpet and plush furniture is [Was]an inviting place. [Rather than saying it was an inviting place, which summarizes and feeds the reader a processed bit of information, it would be stronger to show how the plush furniture, drapes, and carpet make ISADORA feel. In other words, show me HER feeling of comfort and safety or whatever it is she feels there. Show me details as they relate to her. If they don't relate to her...if she doesn't have an emotional reaction to the details...or if she is not interacting physically with them some way (she rubbed her toe in the plush carpet, she slid her hand across the supple leather of the furniture) then the details are not doing enough duty and should be replaced with details which do have import TO THE CHARACTER.] Heavy maroon drapes frame [framed] the windows while ivory sheers protect [protected] those within from the harsh afternoon sun. Isadora sits [sat] on one of the sofas reading the latest Stephanie Plum novel. [To me, this sentence, Isadora sat on one of the plush sofas reading the latest Stephanie Plum novel sounds like the best opening sentence for this paragraph. Using this sentence would anchor the scene in her point of view, so that the reader knows right away who is going to be carrying them through this scene. From that point you can have her lift her finish the chapter in which she has been replacing the villain's name with that of her ex-boyfriend...and have her look around at the room's details. Remember though, that the details you share with the reader need to have some importance to Isadora. Just the details of the room don't do it. She needs to interact with the details...maybe wishing that the heavy drapes were open further so that there would be a bit more sunlight coming through the sheers, or maybe running her hand along the supple leather of the couch. Whatever it is...she needs to react with it...see it, feel it, taste it, touch it, smell it, and/or it needs to have some kind of importance...not necessarily earth shaking importance but it must be something that has enough importance that she would notice it, interact with it, or have an emotional, mental, or physical reaction with it.] She takes [took] great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he will [would] receive what he deserves [deserved] by the end of the book. Engrossed in the story, the swoosh of the revolving door barely registers [registered]. Still it draws [drew] her attention. [Smooth the transition a little here. The swoosh of the revolving door barely registered...but then she looked up...maybe you could have it register, but she couldn't draw her gaze away from the book in which her villainous boyfriend is getting some of his just desserts.] The man standing [stood] there holds [holding] a pair of dark sunglasses in his hand. [I would use A man, rather than the man here] Although [he was] not wearing a suit and tie, he looks [looked] confident in his smart, yet casual clothes. [This is set up like a first meeting between hero and heroine...and since it is you need to make A LOT of the heroine's impression of the man. Details, which she responds to in some way are IMPORTANT here! Don't tell me he wasn't wearing a suit and tie unless you also show me Isadora's reaction to that. It is only important if she only dates men in suits and ties, or if she likes his casual clothes but can just imagine how stunning he would look in a suit and tie. Most likely she doesn't have a fetish about men in suits and you can just cut to the chase and describe what he is wearing. "smart, yet casual" summarizes. What constitutes smart, yet casual? How does the heroine react to his pose, standing there in the lobby, sunglasses dangling from his fingers, polo shirt open to show a peek of chest and chest hair, his slacks hugging his behind and thighs? You need both the specific details and her response to them.] Like a moth to a flame, Isadora feels [felt]drawn to him. [Here it seems like it is her gaze which is drawn to him. You could build it up just a little more by having her unable to look away.] Caught staring, [Don't tell me she is caught staring. SHOW me her being caught staring. Show me his gaze coming to rest on her, maybe he smiles, maybe he doesn't smile but arches a brow...whatever it is, show it happening. THIS kind of step by step detail...action and reaction is what builds sexual tension.] Isadora drops [dropped] her gaze. [Show her feelings--both emotional and physical as he catches her staring. Does she feel heat rise in her body? Sweat break out on her forehead, her mouth go dry, her palms get sweaty? Whatever it is SHOW it. Don't just summarize her feelings...show them. :)]Nervous, she [you have done a lot with her gaze and his meeting (at least if you follow my advice here--so you would need to move her gaze back to the book on her lap as she hurried ly tries to find her place.] hurriedly tries [tried] to find her place on the page as he joins [joined] her on the sofa. [You've given up a lot of emotion and a lot of sexual tension because you have summarized here. Him coming to join her on the sofa is something that should be filled with a lot of emotion and sexual tension, but you will only get the emotiona and sexual tension in the scene if you show the details and Isadora's response to them. Rather than just moving him there, show him moving toward her. How does he move? How does the way he moves affect her? What does she think as he nears her? What does she feel as he sits down on the sofa? Break this down...show specific details and reaction to each detail along the way.]

opghost
August 8th, 2008, 08:45 AM
Thank you so much, Laurie!! Adding enough details is one of my downfalls. Your suggestions will help with that.

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 09:21 AM
The Original:


As Sherri backed out of the driveway, she stopped and wrote down the number on the For Sale Sign. Taking a glance back at the house, she knew she had waited a life time for this house. Pulling out her cell phone, she wasted no time dialing the number.
“Good morning. How may I help you?”
“My name is Sherri Maloney. I’m calling about the house on Rainbow lane.”
“Just one minute, I’ll put you through to Mr. Sanders.”
Reality hit Sherri, when she realized she had just called about a home and she didn’t even have a job. She was definitely losing her mind. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to hang up the phone.


The Markup:

As Sherri backed out of the driveway, [The house in this piece is important to the character. For that reason, details about the house are important. You need greater detail regarding the house. Start with the driveway...is it a short drive, a long drive, a flat drive, a cobblestone drive? You have her stop to write down the number on the for sale sign, but you don't show the reader the house itself. It makes sense that she would look at the house...that there would be details about the house which make her FEEL something...so you need to show the reader the house...and show them her reactions to the details that you share. It is all about the character's feelings about the specific details. :)] she stopped and wrote down the number on the For Sale Sign. Taking a glance back at the house, [You need a few more details here...something that compels her to call now instead of later...what is it about THIS house that is so special...what is it about THIS house that makes her feel like she has waited a lifetime?] she knew she had waited a life time for this house. [There is an emotional transition that happens here...when she puts away the pad on which she has written the phone number on the pad and pulls out her cell phone instead. You need to show the emotional/mental transition. Show the feelings/thoughts that lead to the action...so that you are carrying your reader along in their gilded carriage and they do not have to stop and wonder WHY your character is doing this.] Pulling out her cell phone, she wasted no time dialing the number.

“Good morning. How may I help you?” [Wouldn't hurt to show some of her feelings here. Is she a little breathless? Are her palms a bit sweaty? Just a hint of the voice on the other end of the phone would help the reader experience the scene...and that detail comes in as a prop as your character is interacting with it. :)]

“My name is Sherri Maloney. I’m calling about the house on Rainbow lane.”
“Just one minute, I’ll put you through to Mr. Sanders.”

Reality hit Sherri, when she realized she had just called about a home and she didn’t even have a job. She was definitely losing her mind. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to hang up the phone. [This paragraph summarizes her emotional experience. Slow it down. Show the nuances of her feelings a bit more and it will be quite a bit stronger.]

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 09:38 AM
The Original:


Sarah leaned forward in her seat, her eyes wide, as she peered out the dusty front windshield of the rickety old pick up. She groaned as her already nauseous stomach lurched while the tires sought out every dip and bump on the unforgiving dirt driveway that led to the place that was to be her new home. She sank back in her seat, raking her hands through her hair as the reality of her situation began to truly sink in, though her eyes remained fixated on the massive red brick farmhouse that grew larger with every second as they drove closer and closer.
“Shit” Sarah whispered, what she thought was too quietly for Tim to hear, the notion quickly flying out the window when she watched as his face draw up into a knowing and cocky smile.
“Let’s just get this over with!” She barked and let out an exaggerated sigh, before reaching over and giving him a quick shot in the arm, the knowledge that he was enjoying her discomfort so, making her nervousness all that more real.
“Jerk” Sarah mumbled as she bit back a smile, half of her frustrated with her current situation, the other half secretly enjoying the banter with her new friend who seemed more like a brother to her after just a short drive.

:dunno:

The Markup:

Sarah leaned forward in her seat, her eyes wide, as she peered out the dusty front windshield of the rickety old pick up. [Good job! You've anchored the viewpoint in Sarah. We know she is with a good selection of details that she is interacting with as props.] She groaned as her already nauseous stomach lurched while the tires sought out every dip and bump on the unforgiving dirt driveway that led to the place that was to be [The place that was to be seems to be excess verbiage which jars me a little bit. It seems like it would be stronger to just have the dirt driveway that led to her new home.] her new home. She sank back in her seat, raking her hands through her hair as the reality of her situation began to truly sink in, [End your sentence and your paragraph here to leave the reader in a bit of suspense and to create a sense of urgency as they can't wait to get to the next paragraph to find out about her situation.] though her eyes remained fixated on the massive red brick farmhouse that grew larger with every second as they [they who? I'd envisioned Sarah by herself. If she has others in the car you need to weave that in toward the top of the first paragraph] drove closer and closer.
“Shit” Sarah whispered, what she thought was too quietly [this is a bit jarring-- maybe in a voice she thought was too quiet--or hoping Tim hadn't heard her] for Tim to hear, the notion quickly flying out the window when she watched as his face draw up into a knowing and cocky smile.
“Let’s just get this over with!” She [she goes with the dialogue sentence and doesn't stand alone outside the dialogue so it needs to be lower cased] barked and let out an exaggerated sigh, before reaching over and giving him a quick shot [jab? punch?] in the arm, [End sentence. It gets a bit long.] the knowledge that he was enjoying her discomfort so, making [made] her nervousness all that [the] more real.
“Jerk” Sarah mumbled as she bit back a smile, half of her frustrated with her current situation, the other half secretly enjoying the banter with her new friend who seemed more like a brother to her after just a short drive.

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 09:48 AM
The Original:


He was waiting for her....
Cami's heels echoed across the marble floor of the rotunda of The Swanson estate. The thud of her own heartbeat filled her head, causing her temples to ache. Each click of her heel was weighted with the surreality that her life was no longer what she'd known it to be. Even the mere echo of the rotunda was changed. She'd walked across it a thousand times over in her life, yet now its echo was made greater by the walls stripped bare of their art pieces--of which had been hauled off weeks ago in police vans. In one swift and defining moment, she'd lost everything. Her family estate, her legacy, and even, so it seemed, her own identity. She felt nothing of her formerly feisty, confident self. She didn't even feel that usual sense of physical nakedness for not wearing makeup, jewelry, or perfume. She'd simply felt too faded to bother with such accessories today. She had resigned herself to be numbly barren, stripped, just like the walls of this home.

The Markup:

He was waiting for her.... [Nice opening hook.]
Cami's heels echoed across the marble floor of the rotunda of The Swanson estate. The thud of her own heartbeat filled her head, causing her temples to ache. [Very good use of detail...good use of detail as prop with the marble floor. Good emotional detail with the thud of her heartbeat...good physical detail with her head aching.] Each click of her heel was weighted with the surreality that her life was no longer what she'd known it to be. [VERY Good! Deep, rich, emotional detail...which draws the reader in, making them wonder why. EXCELLENT!] Even the mere echo of the rotunda was changed. She'd walked across it a thousand times over in her life, yet now its echo was made greater by the walls stripped bare of their art pieces--of [delete of it adds nothing, slows the pace] which had been hauled off weeks ago in police vans. In one swift and defining moment, she'd lost everything. Her family estate, her legacy, and even, so [delete so, it doesn't add and in fact detracts. It is stronger without it.] it seemed, her own identity. [I would break paragraph here. Her losing her identity is a high point. Breaking there builds a sense of suspense as the reader wants to know more. In the same way that it creates a sense of urgency when chapters end at a high point it creates a sense of urgency when paragraphs do. :)]She felt nothing of her formerly feisty, confident self. She didn't even feel that usual sense of physical nakedness for not [That normally accompanied not] wearing makeup, jewelry, or perfume. She'd simply felt too faded to bother with such accessories today. [Excellent job bringing in her emotional reality here] She had resigned herself to be numbly barren, stripped, just like the walls of this home. [Very good job bringing the physical and emotional together here]

destinyrae
August 8th, 2008, 10:31 AM
The wind stung her cheeks and the branches whipped her arms as she struggled from the car to her front door. The storm clouds thickened the night sky into black. Bursts of white lighted the way as streaks of lightening bolted from above. The crack of thunder that followed startled her and she dropped her purse at the porch steps. She knew the rain was coming. She could smell its announcement, and feel the humidity of the air. She jerked her purse from the ground, and sprinted up to her front door. Then, she saw his shadow.

Cindy Maday
August 8th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Laurie,
Thanks. Actually, she just explored the outside of the house and should have chose a different way of expressing that. I was trying to condense a scene into a paragraph. You wouldn't know that. Sorry about that. I sort of see what you mean, except slow down on emotional experience. Like, show how reality hit, don't tell?

Cindy

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 01:54 PM
The Original:


Jamie Jones stared, stunned and unaware of anything but the young Anglo woman approaching him and the sudden loud rush of blood in his ears. The normal jingling harnesses and creaking wagons and clopping hooves along <st1:city w:st="on"><st1></st1>Tucson</st1:city>’s busiest street disappeared. The air no longer held the aromas of manure and dust, the hot summer wind no longer stirred his hair as it had mere seconds ago. Hundreds of people going about their business, laughing and chatting, no longer existed—only this goddess. She walked as though heat and harsh sunlight solely bothered piddling mortals. Tall and curvaceous, she could have stepped from the pages of the latest fashion magazines of 1904 with her smart navy blue gabardine suit and straw boater perched jauntily atop a pile of golden hair, barely shading pale porcelain skin from the desert sun. Jaime realized he’d been gawking and closed his mouth. He remained silent and touched his Stetson to her as she passed. She stared beyond him as though he did not exist. Nowadays newcomers from the East saw his brown skin and blue-black hair and assumed an air of superiority. He knew he favored his mestizo mother in appearance and ignored such bias most of the time. But today the rejection stung, and for the first time, he felt diminished.


The Mark Up:
Jamie Jones stared, stunned and unaware of anything but the young Anglo woman approaching him and the sudden loud rush of blood in his ears. [Good job anchoring the viewpoint with Jamie. Good job bringing in physical sensations...emotion is less clear. I don't know whether he is attracted, outraged by something she has done, or what...that is probably OK for this early in the paragraph but is something to be aware of.] The normal jingling harnesses and creaking wagons and clopping hooves along <st1:city w:st="on"><st1></st1>Tucson</st1:city>’s busiest street disappeared. The air no longer held the aromas of manure and dust, the hot summer wind no longer stirred his hair as it had mere seconds ago. Hundreds of people going about their business, laughing and chatting, no longer existed—only this goddess. She walked as though heat and harsh sunlight solely bothered [maybe bothered only] piddling mortals. Tall and curvaceous, she could have stepped from the pages of the latest fashion magazines of 1904 with her smart navy blue gabardine suit and straw boater perched jauntily atop a pile of golden hair, barely shading pale porcelain skin from the desert sun. Jaime realized he’d been gawking and closed his mouth. He remained silent and touched his Stetson to her as she passed. She stared beyond him as though he did not exist. [You need the knee jerk emotional reaction here. What is his immediate feeling? The explanation can follow...but the emotional reaction would be immediate. ] Nowadays newcomers from the East saw his brown skin and blue-black hair and assumed an air of superiority. He knew he favored his mestizo mother in appearance and ignored such bias most of the time. But today the rejection stung, and for the first time, he felt diminished.

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 02:08 PM
The Original:


The wind stung her cheeks and the branches whipped her arms as she struggled from the car to her front door. The storm clouds thickened the night sky into black. Bursts of white lighted the way as streaks of lightening bolted from above. The crack of thunder that followed startled her and she dropped her purse at the porch steps. She knew the rain was coming. She could smell its announcement, and feel the humidity of the air. She jerked her purse from the ground, and sprinted up to her front door. Then, she saw his shadow.

The Markup:

The wind stung her cheeks [Unless it is winter wind stinging cheeks is a bit cliche and probably isn't very realistic] and the branches whipped her arms [How does this feel physically? It's more likely the branches would sting than the wind.] as she struggled from the car to her front door. [She hasn't actually reached the front door, because she drops her purse at the steps. So maybe make this she struggled toward the front door. It's also not clear why she is struggling to get to the front door? Is she carrying something heavy? Is the wind pushing her back? You need a few more details to make this clear.] way [Maybe the path or the sidewalk or the curving sidewalk] The storm clouds thickened the night sky into black. [thickened the night sky into black...darkened the night sky maybe or darkened the evening sky to black.] Bursts of white lighted the [sky] as streaks of lightening bolted from above. The crack of thunder that followed startled her and she dropped her purse at the porch steps. She knew the rain was coming. She could smell its announcement, and [could] feel the humidity of the air. She jerked her purse from the ground, and sprinted up [maybe the last few feet] to her front door. Then, she saw his shadow. [Just a tad bit more about the shadow...is it inside the porch? Outside the porch, behind her? The reader needs to be able to picture where the shadow is in relation to her.]

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 02:12 PM
Hi Cindy,

Yes, what I mean is slow down and show the emotional experience...show how reality hits...but also in the section where she goes from writing the number on the pad (call later) to changing her mind and calling now--you need to show the emotional/mental feelings/thoughts that lead her to that action. So you are showing the process of reaching the decision.

Laurie


Laurie,
Thanks. Actually, she just explored the outside of the house and should have chose a different way of expressing that. I was trying to condense a scene into a paragraph. You wouldn't know that. Sorry about that. I sort of see what you mean, except slow down on emotional experience. Like, show how reality hit, don't tell?

Cindy

Laurie2
August 8th, 2008, 02:14 PM
Great! I'm glad the suggestions are helping. It's usually not a big thing that is missing when one has downfalls. It is usually a little thing...and when you understand how the pieces fit then the downfall diminishes. :)

Laurie


Thank you so much, Laurie!! Adding enough details is one of my downfalls. Your suggestions will help with that.

JudeAZ
August 8th, 2008, 11:28 PM
Thanks, Laurie! I'm hoping to tweak those knee-jerk reactions better--I tend to want to explain too much, I think.

Lee Rush
August 9th, 2008, 10:32 AM
She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate and slipped through it without anybody seeing her. Once outside the fence, she assumed the attitude of a person out for a morning constitutional and briskly walked down the alley and toward the center of town. Her heart was pounding wildly as she made her way and she kept looking back over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't being followed. Quick,
desperate prayers ran continually through her mind...don't let him catch me, don't let him catch me, seemingly in time with her rapid heartbeat and brisk steps. It was several blocks away, the only area of town she had ever been in, but not so far that she couldn’t walk it in a short period of time. As she approached the pier, she wandered in what she hoped was
a touristy manner to the wall at the side of the pier and leaned over, ostensibly gazing into the water below. She slipped the keys from her pocket and dropped them into the water, a victorious smile on her face.

MelanieR
August 10th, 2008, 07:27 AM
Heart thumping and hands sweating Sam pulled to the side of the road. The rain had started as a drizzle just a few seconds ago. Now it fell is sheets pelting her little red compact. Other drivers didn't seem to be affected by the sudden opening of the sky and whizzed by her like fast moving colored dots. Seeing a sign for a mall, she swallowed her fear and staying in the slow lane exited the expressway.

DeeSKnight
August 10th, 2008, 12:18 PM
Laurie, this is a great workshop--thanks so much. Sorry I'm late. You might not have time to review this, but I'm posting my paragraph anyway.


Thanks for your help and insight!
Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but the effect wasn’t cheerful, not like a Christmas card or a scene from a holiday play. For her, it merely indicated Mark was already there. Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet from snow, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the sad, dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d so happily planted last summer—all of it filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>


Dee


So...here's what I want for this exercise.

I want one paragraph
I want it to be a descriptive scene...where the physical location is described
I want it to incorporate at a minimum three of the four parts of the character's reality (mental, emotional, physical)
I want the vantage point of the narrator to be inside the viewpoint character.
Ready...set...go!

Mary Margaret
August 10th, 2008, 10:16 PM
Mariella entered the Great Hall of Castlehaven at the end of a rope held by the chief of her village. Once inside, he dropped the rope and ran out, leaving her alone with the evil one. Her heart pondered in her chest. Her breaths came in short gasps. She willed herself to pull her mind free from the crippling fear that had attacked it. As she became aware of her surroundings, she was drawn to the candles that dispelled patches of darkness throughout the large room, but had no effect on the chill that ran through her. With her head bowed, the scents of the sweet smelling flowers, rose and lavender, strewn about on the floor, rose to greet her, like a summer day. But it wasn't summer. She wouldn't have been here, it it were. The dried flower petals crunched under her feet as she fidgeted and waited to die. Tears welled up in her eyes. She didn't want to die, even as a savior for her people.
She felt his presence. Fear gnawed once again at her insides as she fought a sudden, compelling desire to lift her head and gaze upon her fate. Don’t look up, she warned herself. You’ll see evil. Fear rode a shiver of bitter cold up her spine, threatening to paralyze her.

Laurie2
August 11th, 2008, 02:46 PM
The Original:


She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate and slipped through it without anybody seeing her. Once outside the fence, she assumed the attitude of a person out for a morning constitutional and briskly walked down the alley and toward the center of town. Her heart was pounding wildly as she made her way and she kept looking back over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't being followed. Quick,
desperate prayers ran continually through her mind...don't let him catch me, don't let him catch me, seemingly in time with her rapid heartbeat and brisk steps. It was several blocks away, the only area of town she had ever been in, but not so far that she couldn’t walk it in a short period of time. As she approached the pier, she wandered in what she hoped was
a touristy manner to the wall at the side of the pier and leaned over, ostensibly gazing into the water below. She slipped the keys from her pocket and dropped them into the water, a victorious smile on her face.



The Mark Up:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate and slipped through it without anybody seeing her. [This is suspenseful...she is trying to sneak away. This could be more powerful if you shared some of her feelings as she moves. She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate barely daring to breathe for fear of drawing unwanted attention to her. One step, two steps, three steps, each one took her closer to freedom and safety. Notice that I've worked in some thoughts, some emotions so that the reader is experiencing this with her...not just seeing her moving through the grass, but experiencing her thoughts as she moves.] Once outside the fence, she [you have a spot for a bit more here. She forced the pent up breath from her lungs and tried to release the tension in her shoulders. She needed to fit in.... -- Notice that the details here are related back to her. She is thinking and feeling as she is doing the physical things she is doing.] assumed the attitude of a person out for a morning constitutional and briskly walked down the alley and toward the center of town. Her heart was pounding wildly as she made her way and she kept looking back over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't being followed. [Looking over her shoulder to make sure she isn't being followed is a good way to show her fear of being followed. But since you are in her point of view you don't have to show that from outside her. You can describe the feelings inside her as she makes her way, fearing the moment when she will feel his hand closing over her shoulder pulling her back.] Quick,
desperate prayers ran continually through her mind...don't let him catch me, don't let him catch me, seemingly in time with her rapid heartbeat and brisk steps. [One would think that thoughts were the deepest one could go with point of view, but that's not the case. Emotions are deeper and more intimate and therefore more powerful. Showing a specific fear...what he would do if he did catch her...fearing the sound of his boots on the pavement behind her would be stronger than the generic don't let him catch me. SPECIFIC details...SPECIFIC fears are almost always more powerful than general ones.] It was several blocks away, the only area of town she had ever been in, but not so far that she couldn’t walk it in a short period of time. [You need more of an emotional transition here. She felt her tension ebb as she made her way to the pier.] As she approached the pier, she wandered in what she hoped was
a touristy [It's much stronger to show her trying to act like a tourist than to tell me she wandered in what she hoped was touristy way. Show the actions rather than telling them in important scenes.]manner to the wall at the side of the pier and leaned over, ostensibly gazing into the water below. She slipped the keys from her pocket and dropped them into the water, a victorious smile on her face [You are trying to convey to the person watching her what her emotions are...but you don't have to convey from outside her. You are INSIDE her...so you can describe her feelings from inside her. She must feel something as she drops the keys into the water.]

Laurie2
August 11th, 2008, 02:54 PM
The Original:


Heart thumping and hands sweating Sam pulled to the side of the road. The rain had started as a drizzle just a few seconds ago. Now it fell is sheets pelting her little red compact. Other drivers didn't seem to be affected by the sudden opening of the sky and whizzed by her like fast moving colored dots. Seeing a sign for a mall, she swallowed her fear and staying in the slow lane exited the expressway.

The Mark Up:

Heart thumping and hands sweating Sam pulled to the side of the road. [You could use a bit of an emotional anchor here. I know from the heart thumping and the hands sweating that she is afraid. I don't know why. Fear that is motivated is always stronger than fear that is general in nature. I can't get a handle on how fearful to feel if I don't know why the character feels fear.] The rain had started as a drizzle just a few seconds ago. Now it fell is [as or in] sheets pelting her little red compact. Other drivers didn't seem to be affected by the sudden opening of the sky and whizzed by her like fast moving colored dots. [I feel like there could be a bit of a reaction here. What does she feel as everyone else is whizzing by unconcerned? You don't need much...but something that depicts a mindset and sets up her next course of action...which is looking around for a place to get more permanently off the road. THEN she can see the sign. You need to carry the reader smoothly through the scene. You need to give her a reason to see the sign...otherwise it jerks the reader when she just suddenly sees it out of the blue.] Seeing a sign for a mall, she swallowed her fear [I would like to see a bit more specific fear. Show me her merging back out into the whizzing traffic. Give me a reason for her to be afraid. I can experience that. Fear with no reason is difficult to empathize with or to experience.] and staying in the slow lane exited the expressway.

Laurie2
August 11th, 2008, 03:03 PM
[quote=DeeSKnight;59313]Laurie, this is a great workshop--thanks so much. Sorry I'm late. You might not have time to review this, but I'm posting my paragraph anyway.

Thanks Dee. It's a month long workshop so there is plenty of time to go over your paragraph.


Thanks for your help and insight!

You're welcome. :-)

The Original:

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but the effect wasn’t cheerful, not like a Christmas card or a scene from a holiday play. For her, it merely indicated Mark was already there. Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet from snow, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the sad, dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d so happily planted last summer—all of it filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<O:p></O:p>

The Mark Up:

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin [anchor the emotional basis of the cabin just a little bit here. Why is the cabin important to her? What significance does it have? I'm not looking for a lot here...a half a sentence.] stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but the effect [maybe just it rather than the effect. The effect sounds very cheerful to me...but Harriet isn't seeing it that way] wasn’t cheerful, not like a Christmas card or a scene from a holiday play. For her, it merely indicated Mark was already there. [Emotional reaction to him already being there?] Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet from snow, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the sad, [would eliminate sad...dead things don't usually have emotions...it seems stronger to me without it.] dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d so happily planted last summer—all of it filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<O:p</O:p

DeeSKnight
August 11th, 2008, 03:14 PM
Thanks! It's better leaving out the words you noted. And I see that adding a few more where you marked would add quite a bit.
Dee

The Mark Up:

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin [anchor the emotional basis of the cabin just a little bit here. Why is the cabin important to her? What significance does it have? I'm not looking for a lot here...a half a sentence.] stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but the effect [maybe just it rather than the effect. The effect sounds very cheerful to me...but Harriet isn't seeing it that way] wasn’t cheerful, not like a Christmas card or a scene from a holiday play. For her, it merely indicated Mark was already there. [Emotional reaction to him already being there?] Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet from snow, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the sad, [would eliminate sad...dead things don't usually have emotions...it seems stronger to me without it.] dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d so happily planted last summer—all of it filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<O:p</O:p

Laurie2
August 11th, 2008, 03:23 PM
The Original:


Mariella entered the Great Hall of Castlehaven at the end of a rope held by the chief of her village. Once inside, he dropped the rope and ran out, leaving her alone with the evil one. Her heart pondered in her chest. Her breaths came in short gasps. She willed herself to pull her mind free from the crippling fear that had attacked it. As she became aware of her surroundings, she was drawn to the candles that dispelled patches of darkness throughout the large room, but had no effect on the chill that ran through her. With her head bowed, the scents of the sweet smelling flowers, rose and lavender, strewn about on the floor, rose to greet her, like a summer day. But it wasn't summer. She wouldn't have been here, it it were. The dried flower petals crunched under her feet as she fidgeted and waited to die. Tears welled up in her eyes. She didn't want to die, even as a savior for her people.
She felt his presence. Fear gnawed once again at her insides as she fought a sudden, compelling desire to lift her head and gaze upon her fate. Don’t look up, she warned herself. You’ll see evil. Fear rode a shiver of bitter cold up her spine, threatening to paralyze her.


The Mark Up:

Mariella entered the Great Hall of Castlehaven at the end of a rope held by the chief of her village. [See if you can capture more here. Is she walking happily along? Is she being drug along? Where is the rope...binding her arms? Around her neck? You need to anchor her with some concrete, specific details.] Once inside, [To capture Mariella's experience here you need somemore details. Once they are inside what does she see? What does she feel?] he dropped the rope and ran out, leaving her alone with the evil one. [I would break the paragraph here. The surroundings need to come earlier in the paragraph. Even with her heart pounding she would be aware of the things around her...so that needs to be brought forward and woven in with her heart pounding and her short gasps.] Her heart pondered [pounded] in her chest. Her breaths came in short gasps. She willed herself to pull her mind free from the crippling fear that had attacked it. [This is a more fitting transition for a point when she takes action of some sort.] As she became aware of her surroundings, she was drawn [she -- her whole self or her gaze?] to the candles that dispelled patches of darkness throughout the large room, but had no effect on the chill that ran through her. With her head bowed, the scents of the sweet smelling flowers, rose and lavender, [choose either the more general sweet smelling flowers or the specific ones...not both.] strewn about on the floor, rose to greet her, like a summer day. But it wasn't summer. She wouldn't have been here, it [if] it were. The dried flower petals crunched under her feet as she fidgeted and waited to die. [With a situation this dire you need more hint of it earlier in the paragraph.] Tears welled up in her eyes. She didn't want to die, even as a savior for her people.
She felt his presence. [Show me...how does she feel his presence? What does it feel like?] Fear gnawed once again at her insides [What does this feel like physically in her body? Try to create the experience for the reader rather than telling them about the experience.] as she fought a sudden, compelling desire to lift her head and gaze upon her fate. Don’t look up, she warned herself. You’ll see evil. Fear rode [I think it is stronger without fear riding. That is hard to envision. I can feel a shiver of bitter cold.] a shiver of bitter cold up her spine, threatening to paralyze her.

With this paragraph there is a sense of the gilded carriage being pulled a bit off kilter...as the flow of the character's experience is not always what seems realistic. If she is being drug to the great hall to die then that needs to be shown first. It would be the first, foremost, biggest thing in her mind. She would feel fear...but the fear would be woven in with her experience of the scene around her. The ending is very suspenseful. I wanted her to look up. :)

Elm Smith
August 11th, 2008, 03:23 PM
Isadora sat on one of the sofas and sank into its thick cushion. She looked around the old hotel’s lobby. Heavy maroon drapes framed the windows while ivory sheers protected those within from the harsh desert sun. Still there was enough light for Isadora to read the latest Stephanie Plum novel. She took great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he would receive what he deserved by the end of the book. Although the swoosh of the revolving door barely registered, Isadora’s attention was drawn to it. A man stood there holding a pair of dark sunglasses. Her gaze follows his hand as it drops to his side. His slacks clung to his behind so tightly that Isadora doubted he carried a wallet. Smiling, she moved her gaze past his open polo shirt to his face where her gaze met his. He smiled. She felt her face warm and wanted to look away, but like a moth to a flame, Isadora felt drawn to him. It was difficult, but as he walked towards her, she dropped her gaze to the book and fumbled with it trying to find her place. Her stomach fluttered and her pulse quickened when he joined her on the sofa.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>Elm</o:p>

Laurie2
August 11th, 2008, 03:37 PM
The Revised:


Isadora sat on one of the sofas and sank into its thick cushion. She looked around the old hotel’s lobby. Heavy maroon drapes framed the windows while ivory sheers protected those within from the harsh desert sun. Still there was enough light for Isadora to read the latest Stephanie Plum novel. She took great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he would receive what he deserved by the end of the book. Although the swoosh of the revolving door barely registered, Isadora’s attention was drawn to it. A man stood there holding a pair of dark sunglasses. Her gaze follows his hand as it drops to his side. His slacks clung to his behind so tightly that Isadora doubted he carried a wallet. Smiling, she moved her gaze past his open polo shirt to his face where her gaze met his. He smiled. She felt her face warm and wanted to look away, but like a moth to a flame, Isadora felt drawn to him. It was difficult, but as he walked towards her, she dropped her gaze to the book and fumbled with it trying to find her place. Her stomach fluttered and her pulse quickened when he joined her on the sofa.
<O:p></O:p>
<O:p>Elm</O:p>

The Revised Mark Up:

Isadora sat on one of the sofas and sank into its thick cushion. She looked around the old hotel’s lobby. Heavy maroon drapes framed the windows while ivory sheers protected those within from the harsh desert sun. [There is no mention of reading or the novel at this point. I had the feeling she just sat down in the lobby...so you need to weave the novel in a little more...have her pull it out of her bag or open it once she is settled on the couch. You just need to carry the reader smoothly through the scene.] Still there was enough light for Isadora to read the latest Stephanie Plum novel. [Transition a bit more into the book. As she read...] She took great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he would receive what he deserved by the end of the book. Although the swoosh of the revolving door barely registered, Isadora’s attention was drawn to it. A man stood there holding a pair of dark sunglasses. Her gaze follows [followed] his hand as it drops [dropped] to his side. His slacks clung to his behind so tightly that Isadora doubted he carried a wallet. Smiling, she moved her gaze past his open polo shirt to his face where her gaze met his. He smiled. She felt her face warm and wanted to look away, but like a moth to a flame, Isadora felt drawn to him. It was difficult, but as he walked towards her, she dropped her gaze to the book and fumbled with it trying to find her place. [The order of the sentence is off a bit. He walked toward her is the first thing that happened. Then she feels something...what? Then what she feels spurs her to look at the book in her lap and struggle to find her place.] Her stomach fluttered and her pulse quickened when he joined her on the sofa. [I would like to see more build up to the spot where he joins her on the sofa. I think I would be thinking he was going somewhere else...to a different chair behind mine...or perhaps to look out the window. I would be surprised when he sat on the sofa...especially if they are strangers and she is not expecting him. It's kind of odd for someone to invade someone else's space like this...especially without asking and your reader is going to be feeling weirded out by it unless you show them why they shouldn't feel that way.]

Otherwise, much improved. :)

Elm Smith
August 11th, 2008, 03:43 PM
Thanks. I'll see what I can do with it.

Elm

MelanieR
August 11th, 2008, 08:31 PM
I still think this is missing something but I do think it's better. If flows a little better.


With just over a year driving experience Sam found herself on one of the busiest expressways in <st1:state><st1>Pennsylvania</st1></st1:state>. Alone! She had never been an overly confident driver, and felt even less confident pulling onto the five lane highway. The rain had started as a drizzle just seconds ago and now it fell in blinding sheets pelting her little red compact. Heart thumping, hands sweating she pulled to the side of the road to calm her self and watched in amazement as none of the other drivers seemed affected by the storm. They whizzed by her like fast moving colored specks. Needing time to gather her courage to continue, she began looking for refuge. Straining through the rain splattered windshield she saw a sign for a mall. Taking a deep breath and holding the steering wheel in a death grip, she turned her signal on and slowly merged with traffic.

Mary Margaret
August 12th, 2008, 02:15 AM
Laurie, thanks for your mark-up. Here is my second attempt at exercise one. Hope it's better. :-) MM
The chief of Halwell led Mariella into the Great Hall of Castlehaven at the end of a rope tied around her aching wrists. They made their way by the light of candles that dispelled patches of darkness throughout the large room, but had no effect on the darkness that bit at the edges of her mind. Their steps crushed dried flowers, releasing their sweet fragrance in the otherwise stagnant air. A chill came from the stone walls, or maybe it came from inside her.
They stopped at the raised dais opposite the wooden doors they had entered. The chief dropped the rope and ran out, leaving her. She heard the doors slam shut. She was alone. She hadn’t struggled and even now she didn’t try to run away. It was her life in exchange for the lives of her people. She stood motionless and bent, as she waited for the evil one. She was sure he would kill her. Every year a young woman was given to him as a gift, and none returned to the village when the next year’s gift arrived. She prayed for a swift death, a good death, pleasing to God.<O:p
Moments passed. The castle seemed dead. Nothing stirred in the Great Hall, except her chest as she struggled to breathe. The only noises were her loud, gasping breaths and the dried flower petals crunching under her feet as she fidgeted and waited for him.
She tried to flex her fingers. Pain seared through her hands and up into her arms. In the dim light of the candles she saw her wrists – they were as raw as a slab of fresh meat. Tears welled up in her eyes as a heaviness settled in her heart, weighing down on her like a hundred sacks of flour. She couldn’t fight it anymore. Her body shook as loud sobs escaped from her throat. She didn't want to die.<O:p
Then she felt his presence like a breeze that entered through a doorway in summertime, warm, inviting. Startled, she stepped back and stopped crying. How could evil be warm and inviting? <O:p
Mariella. <O:p
A deep, rich voice, his voice, sang her name inside her mind with a melody that caressed her heart. Her body relaxed as her tired and troubled mind basked in his song. Calm seeped into her body like rain seeped into the ground during a gentle rain. Her breaths were slower, less ragged. With the calm she regained some of her mind from the darkness.<O:p
Then, a sudden, compelling desire to lift her head and gaze upon her fate consumed her. His magic was working on her, trying to trick her. She shook her head to throw out her name. Don’t raise your head, she warned herself. You’ll see evil. A shiver of bitter cold rode up her spine, threatening to paralyze her, but she refused to lift her gaze. <O:p

stargazer
August 12th, 2008, 10:54 AM
Tara</ST1:p grasped the reins firmly in her hand as the mare began the steep climb up the mountain. She could feel Ariel's muscles straining under her thighs as she forged her way along the dirt path, cautiously placing her hoofs to keep from stumbling. <ST1:pTara</ST1:p trusted her implicitly; they had made this trek together innumerable times. As she began to relax, the fresh smell of pine embraced her and she pulled the fragrance deep into her lungs. The beginning shimmers of serenity floated tantalizingly through her mind and she smiled. Gazing at the towering pines surrounding her, ducking her head as the needles brushed gently against her cheeks, <ST1:pTar </ST1:pallowed the solitude and beauty to invade her soul. Rejuvenation would come. With it, the ability to choose which path to follow. The path that was comfortable, highly visible and led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Or the path that was unexplored, dangerous yet darkly compelling. It was this trail that drew <ST1:pTara</ST1:p inexorably closer. Its magnetism and invitation so great, she felt heat coil deep in her belly. This path offered her the opportunity to take risks and seize the freedom it might offer.<O:p</O:p

stargazer
August 12th, 2008, 10:56 AM
Removed errors.

DeeSKnight
August 12th, 2008, 05:11 PM
The Mark Up:

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin [anchor the emotional basis of the cabin just a little bit here. Why is the cabin important to her? What significance does it have? I'm not looking for a lot here...a half a sentence.] stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but the effect [maybe just it rather than the effect. The effect sounds very cheerful to me...but Harriet isn't seeing it that way] wasn’t cheerful, not like a Christmas card or a scene from a holiday play. For her, it merely indicated Mark was already there. [Emotional reaction to him already being there?] Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet from snow, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the sad, [would eliminate sad...dead things don't usually have emotions...it seems stronger to me without it.] dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d so happily planted last summer—all of it filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<O:p</O:p

The revision--thanks for taking a second look!

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin where they’d spent their honeymoon stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but without cheer, not like those scenes depicted on Christmas cards. So, Mark was already there. Knowing him, he’d have dinner made, anticipating her arrival, and her slippers warming by the hearth. Guilt welled up inside her. She tried to focus through tears at the place where she’d known joy a short time ago. Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d happily planted last summer—all of it now filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<O:p></O:p>

Lee Rush
August 15th, 2008, 12:18 PM
Revised exercise 1:
She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding as she swallowed and it left her throat again. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous at her actions and maybe call the police. Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate and showing her freedom...IF she managed to make it.

When she opened the gate, she glanced back at the beautiful garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses blooming, vines carrying bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covering the fences. She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. As hurried as she was, as scared and ready to run, she took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a
cleansing breath, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She stood up and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she now headed. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words seemingly in time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier...the pier. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and they were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as the pelicans took off in majestic flight, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries, mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch her! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.

Laurie2
August 15th, 2008, 02:47 PM
The Original:


I still think this is missing something but I do think it's better. If flows a little better.


With just over a year driving experience Sam found herself on one of the busiest expressways in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /><st1:state><ST1>Pennsylvania</ST1></st1:state>. Alone! She had never been an overly confident driver, and felt even less confident pulling onto the five lane highway. The rain had started as a drizzle just seconds ago and now it fell in blinding sheets pelting her little red compact. Heart thumping, hands sweating she pulled to the side of the road to calm her self and watched in amazement as none of the other drivers seemed affected by the storm. They whizzed by her like fast moving colored specks. Needing time to gather her courage to continue, she began looking for refuge. Straining through the rain splattered windshield she saw a sign for a mall. Taking a deep breath and holding the steering wheel in a death grip, she turned her signal on and slowly merged with traffic.


The Mark Up:

[Start by anchoring with what Sam is doing...weave in what is in this case the backstory (motivation) for her feelings. If you start with the backstory before it is needed (by the reader--so that they can understand why Sam feels what she feels they are more apt to wander. Action is a good hook...motivations are not good hooks. So...Sam's heart pounded as she eased her small car onto the entrance ramp to the five lane interstate that circled (whatever town)....THEN provide just a little bit of why she feels what she feels. Remember...it is like a bird building a nest. Work with very small pieces of material at a time...weaving it all in] With just over a year driving experience Sam found herself on one of the busiest expressways in <st1:state><ST1>Pennsylvania</ST1></st1:state>. Alone! [This is enough to motivate her anxiety. Weave it in...with the action (her merging the car onto the expressway) and the feelings (fear, anxiety, and the physical manifestations of the emotional aspects (her heart pounding)] She had never been an overly confident driver, and felt even less confident pulling onto the five lane highway. [This is really telling...you want to show instead. Using the bits above in the order described, you will be showing rather than telling.] The rain had started as a drizzle just seconds ago and now it fell in blinding sheets pelting her little red compact. [I would like to see the drizzle changing to driving rain in action...so start with the splattering of drops as she eases her car onto the ramp to the expressway...then have the rain intensify as she is trying to get onto the expressway...show THE EXPERIENCE...use specific details...the poor visibility in the rain....the woosh of the traffic as she is trying to merge.] Heart thumping, hands sweating she pulled to the side of the road to calm her self and watched in amazement as none of the other drivers [show the other drivers as they are first...they whiz by like fast moving specks...then her response...none of them seem bothered by the storm] seemed affected by the storm. They whizzed by her like fast moving colored specks. Needing time [Show me more...what does she feel inside here? I would like to see a big semi honk at her as she is merging...which would give her additional reason to be unnerved here. Show me THE EXPERIENCE...what does she feel physically, emotionally? What does she see as she looks around her looking for somewhere to take shelter?] to gather her courage to continue, she began looking for refuge. Straining through the rain splattered windshield she saw a sign for a mall [Use a specific detail. Name the mall]. Taking a deep breath and holding the steering wheel in a death grip, she turned her signal on and slowly merged with traffic [I would think, as she pulled off the road that she might think that she would have to merge back into the traffic...that it might give her reason to ponder the decision of getting out of the traffic...and in reality, there doesn't seem any reason for her to stop on the edge of the road...it just means you have to transition her emotionally from gathering her courage to get on the road...to getting off the road...to gathering her courage to get back on the road. It might be just as strong to show her continuing to drive down the highway...white knuckled as she peers into the sheets of rain looking for the next exit.]

[I've picked this apart a lot...mostly because it is strong to begin with. You have good details...it is the order that is off early in the paragraph, for the reasons I mentioned. Then at the end, you need to think about whether you really need her to stop and then start again. For the purposes of the exercise it is fine...but generally you want to move the reader smoothly through the story as quickly and as smoothly as you can. If there is a lot of fancy footwork (choreography--like getting off and on the road...or other things like that which are action/activity but not crucial to your story) it is a good idea to see if you can streamline the unnecessary movements...as that will generally speed you to the important elements of the story. In this case, you could accomplish the same thing by having a semi honk behind her as she merges...having her terrified...white knuckled as she creeps down the highway with cars zipping past her. Nothing happened at the side of the road that couldn't have happened without that bit of the choreography.]

Laurie2
August 15th, 2008, 03:30 PM
The Original:


Laurie, thanks for your mark-up. Here is my second attempt at exercise one. Hope it's better. :-) MM
The chief of Halwell led Mariella into the Great Hall of Castlehaven at the end of a rope tied around her aching wrists. They made their way by the light of candles that dispelled patches of darkness throughout the large room, but had no effect on the darkness that bit at the edges of her mind. Their steps crushed dried flowers, releasing their sweet fragrance in the otherwise stagnant air. A chill came from the stone walls, or maybe it came from inside her.
They stopped at the raised dais opposite the wooden doors they had entered. The chief dropped the rope and ran out, leaving her. She heard the doors slam shut. She was alone. She hadn’t struggled and even now she didn’t try to run away. It was her life in exchange for the lives of her people. She stood motionless and bent, as she waited for the evil one. She was sure he would kill her. Every year a young woman was given to him as a gift, and none returned to the village when the next year’s gift arrived. She prayed for a swift death, a good death, pleasing to God.<O:p
Moments passed. The castle seemed dead. Nothing stirred in the Great Hall, except her chest as she struggled to breathe. The only noises were her loud, gasping breaths and the dried flower petals crunching under her feet as she fidgeted and waited for him.
She tried to flex her fingers. Pain seared through her hands and up into her arms. In the dim light of the candles she saw her wrists – they were as raw as a slab of fresh meat. Tears welled up in her eyes as a heaviness settled in her heart, weighing down on her like a hundred sacks of flour. She couldn’t fight it anymore. Her body shook as loud sobs escaped from her throat. She didn't want to die.<O:p
Then she felt his presence like a breeze that entered through a doorway in summertime, warm, inviting. Startled, she stepped back and stopped crying. How could evil be warm and inviting? <O:p
Mariella. <O:p
A deep, rich voice, his voice, sang her name inside her mind with a melody that caressed her heart. Her body relaxed as her tired and troubled mind basked in his song. Calm seeped into her body like rain seeped into the ground during a gentle rain. Her breaths were slower, less ragged. With the calm she regained some of her mind from the darkness.<O:p
Then, a sudden, compelling desire to lift her head and gaze upon her fate consumed her. His magic was working on her, trying to trick her. She shook her head to throw out her name. Don’t raise your head, she warned herself. You’ll see evil. A shiver of bitter cold rode up her spine, threatening to paralyze her, but she refused to lift her gaze. <O:p


The Mark Up:

The chief of Halwell led Mariella into the Great Hall of Castlehaven at the end of a rope tied around her aching wrists. [As a reader I want a little more of her experience here. Show Mariella first in the sentence structure as it is Mariella who is your viewpoint character and the one you want the reader to identify with. For example Mariella shuffled three paces behind the chief of Halwell. Then show me her EXPERIENCE as she EXPERIENCES it--from INSIDE her. For example She hung back nearly tripping when the chief pulled sharply on the rope looped around her aching wrists. This shows me HER EXPERIENCE from inside her, as she experiences it, rather than as someone watching from outside her would see it] tugged along They made their way by the light of candles that dispelled patches of darkness throughout the large room, but had no effect on the darkness that bit at the edges of her mind. Their steps crushed dried flowers, releasing their sweet fragrance in the otherwise stagnant air. [She needs a response to the fragrance of the flowers. You show me flowers...you show me fragrance...you don't show me HER REACTION to those details. You need to because it is HER EXPERIENCE that we are creating here.] A chill came from the stone walls, or maybe it came from inside her. [Which is HER EXPERIENCE? Does the chill come from inside or outside? What does she feel?]
They stopped at the raised dais opposite the wooden doors they had entered. The chief dropped the rope and ran out, leaving her [would like a bit more here...leaving her alone where...on the raised dais...at the foot of the step leading to it....what is the lighting like here?]. She heard the doors slam shut. [Emotional reaction to the door slamming shut and the awareness that she is alone?] She was alone. She hadn’t struggled [when hadn't she struggled...when the chief had tied her...during the long journey?] and even now she didn’t try to run away. It was [What was? How does she know this? You need to show the reader a glimpse of how she feels about this...what her predicament is from her viewpoint...so just a tad more...how did she come to be chosen to be the one to be sacrificed for the others? How does she feel about the sacrifice?] her life in exchange for the lives of her people. [Would break the paragraph here] She stood motionless and bent [bent how? kneeling, bowing?], as she waited for the evil one. [Show a little more of her knowledge and insight into who and what the evil one is. Is it an honor to be chosen...or not? What does she know of the evil one? What stories, rumors has she heard?] She was sure he would kill her. [She was sure he would kill her tells. If she is sure he will kill her then she is waiting for him to kill her. Show me THAT EXPERIENCE rather than summarizing.] Every year a young woman was given to him as a gift, and none returned to the village when the next year’s gift arrived. [This should go with the bit I asked you to elaborate on what she knows of the evil one.] She prayed for a swift death, a good death, pleasing to God. [You're telling me...show me THE EXPERIENCE of waiting to be killed...being sure you are going to be killed...not knowing how...or when...praying for it to be swift. I am after THE EXPERIENCE.]<O:p
Moments passed. [Elongate this a little...show me the moments passing...her realization that the moments have passed and he has not shown up.] The castle seemed dead. Nothing stirred in the Great Hall, except her chest as she struggled to breathe. The only noises were her loud, gasping breaths and the dried flower petals crunching under her feet as she fidgeted and waited for him.
She tried to flex her fingers. Pain seared through her hands and up into her arms. In the dim light of the candles she saw her wrists – they were as raw as a slab [slabs might work better here since there are two wrists] of fresh meat. Tears welled up in her eyes as a heaviness settled in her heart, weighing down on her like a hundred sacks of flour. She couldn’t fight it [what is it? The fear? The tension? the pain in her wrists? Be specific] anymore. Her body shook as loud sobs escaped from her throat. She didn't want to die.<O:p
Then she felt his presence like a breeze that entered through a doorway in summertime, warm, inviting. Startled, she stepped back and stopped crying. How could evil be warm and inviting? [How does she know it is his presence she feels? Seems a little like you are out of her viewpoint. She would be aware of a presence maybe...or the sensations she feels...but when the presence is so at odds with what she expects it seems odd she would think it was his presence.]<O:p
Mariella. <O:p
A deep, rich voice, his voice, sang her name inside her mind with a melody that caressed her heart. Her body relaxed as her tired and troubled mind basked in his song. Calm seeped into her body like rain seeped into the ground during a gentle rain. Her breaths were slower, less ragged. With the calm she regained some of her mind from the darkness. [The experience isn't clear here...where is his voice...is it in her imagination. Or is she actually hearing the voice? You need to clarify...show HER EXPERIENCE...but if it is supernatural experience cue the reader into that fact by showing her being surprised by what she experiences...or by describing the sensation of having his voice inside her mind. How is that different from hearing his voice through her ears.] <O:p
Then, a sudden, compelling desire to lift her head and gaze upon her fate consumed her. His magic was working on her, trying to trick her. [What magic? Surely there are stories she has heard about what happens to the young women who are given to the evil one.] She shook her head to throw out her name. [To throw out her name? I am not clear what you mean by that. Are they communicating telepathically?] Don’t raise your head, she warned herself. You’ll see evil. A shiver of bitter cold rode up her spine, threatening to paralyze her, but she refused to lift her gaze. [Not sure the middle section....she hears his voice in her mind...his presence is nice...like a summer breeze...and then she won't lift her gaze because she fears seeing evil. I am guessing that this is part of a bigger work. For the purposes of this exercise there are pieces that feel like they are missing. They may have been covered in the work itself in another part...so the mark ups here relate only to the work here.]

Laurie2
August 15th, 2008, 03:49 PM
The Original:


Tara</ST1:p grasped the reins firmly in her hand as the mare began the steep climb up the mountain. She could feel Ariel's muscles straining under her thighs as she forged her way along the dirt path, cautiously placing her hoofs to keep from stumbling. <ST1:pTara</ST1:p trusted her implicitly; they had made this trek together innumerable times. As she began to relax, the fresh smell of pine embraced her and she pulled the fragrance deep into her lungs. The beginning shimmers of serenity floated tantalizingly through her mind and she smiled. Gazing at the towering pines surrounding her, ducking her head as the needles brushed gently against her cheeks, <ST1:pTar </ST1:pallowed the solitude and beauty to invade her soul. Rejuvenation would come. With it, the ability to choose which path to follow. The path that was comfortable, highly visible and led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Or the path that was unexplored, dangerous yet darkly compelling. It was this trail that drew <ST1:pTara</ST1:p inexorably closer. Its magnetism and invitation so great, she felt heat coil deep in her belly. This path offered her the opportunity to take risks and seize the freedom it might offer.<O:p</O:p


The Mark Up:

Tara</ST1:p grasped the reins firmly in her hand as the mare began the steep climb up the mountain. She could feel Ariel's muscles straining under her thighs as she [perhaps the horse] forged her way along the dirt path, cautiously placing her hoofs to keep from stumbling. <ST1:pTara</ST1:p trusted her implicitly; they had made this trek together innumerable times. As she began to relax, the fresh smell of pine embraced her and she pulled the fragrance deep into her lungs. The beginning shimmers of serenity floated tantalizingly through her mind and she smiled. Gazing at the towering pines surrounding her, ducking her head as the needles brushed gently against her cheeks, Tar </ST1:pallowed the solitude and beauty to invade her soul. Rejuvenation would come. With it, the ability to choose which path to follow. The path that was comfortable, highly visible and led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Or the path that was unexplored, dangerous yet darkly compelling. [This is a big jump. You go from rejuvenation would come...and when it came it helping her choose the path to suddenly the path is chosen. You need to show rejuvenation and then decision if that is the path you have set up for the reader.] It was this trail that drew <ST1:pTara</ST1:p inexorably closer. Its magnetism and invitation so great, she felt heat coil deep in her belly. This path offered her the opportunity to take risks and seize the freedom it might offer. [I think what you are doing here is using paths as a metaphor for choice over which life path to follow...but the metaphor is confusing here because you have the character on a horse, on a path...and so I am about half set to see the path divide and Tara make a choice about which path. You need to be clear if you are using path as a metaphor...it's just not clear.]

MelanieR
August 15th, 2008, 10:41 PM
Thank's Laurie, I'll take all of this and work on it tomorrow. This is a book I've already written and would love to make it better. I am the queen of telling and have been trying hard to overcome it. I'm getting better.

I think it's awesome that Coffeetime does these seminars. Not to mention the people that take the time from their busy schedules to help us. I'm so glad I joined this board.
Melanie

Elm Smith
August 16th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Laurie,
Here's my second revision. Hope I've fixed the remaining problems and not created more.
Elm
Isadora sat on one of the sofas and sank into its thick cushion. She looked around the old hotel’s lobby. Heavy maroon drapes framed the windows while ivory sheers protected those within from the harsh desert sun. Still there was enough light to read. Isadora made herself comfortable at one end of the sofa and opened the latest Stephanie Plum novel. As she read she took great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he would receive what he deserved by the end of the book. Although the swoosh of the revolving door barely registered, Isadora’s attention was drawn to it. A man stood there holding a pair of dark sunglasses. Her gaze followed his hand as it dropped to his side. His slacks clung to his behind so tightly that Isadora doubted he carried a wallet. Smiling, she moved her gaze past his open polo shirt to his face where her gaze met his. He smiled. She felt her face warm and wanted to look away, but like a moth to a flame, Isadora felt drawn to him. When he started walking in her direction, her stomach fluttered. Isadora dropped her gaze to the book and fumbled with it trying to find her place. ‘Surely he was going to the front desk,’ she thought. Isadora dropped the book when he joined her on the sofa.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

MeiraP
August 16th, 2008, 05:58 PM
Laurie

Thank you for this workshop. I've enjoyed reading these. I'm a little late, but I thought I'd join you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Jenna marched down the hallway and through the west exit, her long, black hair swishing against a pale blue T-shirt. Vivid yellow aspens and deep red oaks clashed with the dull grey ache in her gut. Grimacing, she trekked up the hill that led to the muddy soccer field at the edge of the school grounds. Memories of summer laughter and fresh green grass surrendered to the repulsive thoughts swirling in her brain. Digging her chipped nails into the soft skin of her palm, she tried in vain to block the image of Mr. Morrison’s hand on her knee. His shameless words pursued her, echoing in her head until she doubted her own innocence. I never really trusted him, she lied. Her fragile charade of composure crumbled when she reached a large oak fifty yards from the soccer field. She leaned against the tree and sunk slowly to the ground, only dimly aware of the rough bark that scratched her neck and pulled her hair. Holding her breath, she willed the tears not to come. They disregarded her request, however, arriving in an avalanche of anger and despair. Tucking her head between her knees, she submitted to them. Mr. Morrison, how could you, of all people, disappoint me?

----------------------

-Meira

MelanieR
August 17th, 2008, 09:23 AM
Okay, I'm feeling pretty good about this one. I rewrote it a couple of times and this one seems to show everything you suggested. At least I hope it does.

Sam’s heart beat wildly as she started to ease her small red compact onto the <st1:place>Schuylkill</st1:place> Expressway. She was just miles from the city of brotherly love, <st1:City><st1:place>Philadelphia</st1:place></st1:City>. With just over a year driving experience Sam found herself on one of the busiest expressways in <st1:State><st1:place>Pennsylvania</st1:place></st1:State>. Alone. Cars buzzed by her on the left and the cars behind her on the ramp started blowing their horns, adding to the anxiety she already felt. Swallowing down her fear she pressed down on the accelerator and started to merge. As she did big rain drops began to fall. Slowly pulling out she jumped hearing the long blast of a horn behind her. Looking in her mirror a bus was on her rear bumper. By the time the bus passed her the rain had began falling in sheets. Pelting her little car, making her feel as if she were in a tin can, the cars in the fast lane seemed unaffected by the sudden opening of the sky. Buzzing by her at speeds so fast they were nothing more than multi colored flecks. Feeling tears running down her face, and her stomach churning, she wanted nothing but to be off this terrible highway. Seeing sign that said Mall with an arrow, Sam swallowed hard, looked in her mirror and shot onto the exit. Seeing the mall in front of her, she sighed in relief. <o:p></o:p>

Laurie2
August 17th, 2008, 11:56 AM
Hi Elm,

I think that's always the hope when we are writing. it is definitely mine when I am writing...and in some instances when I am editing as well.

Laurie

The Original:

Laurie,
Here's my second revision. Hope I've fixed the remaining problems and not created more.
Elm
Isadora sat on one of the sofas and sank into its thick cushion. She looked around the old hotel’s lobby. Heavy maroon drapes framed the windows while ivory sheers protected those within from the harsh desert sun. Still there was enough light to read. Isadora made herself comfortable at one end of the sofa and opened the latest Stephanie Plum novel. As she read she took great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he would receive what he deserved by the end of the book. Although the swoosh of the revolving door barely registered, Isadora’s attention was drawn to it. A man stood there holding a pair of dark sunglasses. Her gaze followed his hand as it dropped to his side. His slacks clung to his behind so tightly that Isadora doubted he carried a wallet. Smiling, she moved her gaze past his open polo shirt to his face where her gaze met his. He smiled. She felt her face warm and wanted to look away, but like a moth to a flame, Isadora felt drawn to him. When he started walking in her direction, her stomach fluttered. Isadora dropped her gaze to the book and fumbled with it trying to find her place. ‘Surely he was going to the front desk,’ she thought. Isadora dropped the book when he joined her on the sofa.<o>:p></o>:p>

The Mark Up:

Isadora sat on one of the sofas and sank into its thick cushion. She looked around the old hotel’s lobby. [Good...you've made dramatic improvement not only in the use of detail but in carrying the reader through the experience with the details...having her look around moves the reader through the scene and through the details and makes the description come from Isadora rather than from outside her from an invisible narrator. Good job!] Heavy maroon drapes framed the windows while ivory sheers protected those within from the harsh desert sun. Still there was enough light to read. Isadora made herself comfortable at one end of the sofa and opened the latest Stephanie Plum novel. [Good, again you've transitioned your reader along with Isadora so that it is Isadora who is noticing the light and who is opening the book. There is no place where the reader is unsure of what is going on. Good job!] As she read she took great pleasure in replacing the villain’s name with her ex-boyfriend’s name; knowing he would receive what he deserved by the end of the book. Although the swoosh of the revolving door barely registered, Isadora’s attention was drawn to it. A man stood there holding a pair of dark sunglasses. Her gaze followed his hand as it dropped to his side. His slacks clung to his behind so tightly that Isadora doubted he carried a wallet. Smiling, she moved her gaze [up--you've been looking at his behind...so you need to transition the reader to looking up rather than down] past his open polo shirt to his face where her gaze met his. He smiled. She felt her face warm and wanted to look away, but like a moth to a flame, Isadora felt drawn to him. When he started walking in her direction, her stomach fluttered. Isadora [just for flow here I would bridge the two sentences with and so that her stomach fluttered and she dropped her gaze. Seems smoother...but is not a big thing.] dropped her gaze to the book and fumbled with it trying to find her place. ‘Surely he was going to the front desk,’ she thought. Isadora dropped the book when he joined her on the sofa. [You need a bit more here. This is the high point of the paragraph really...and you are leaving emotional fodder on the table undeveloped. Build it up a little more. Surely he was going to the front desk she thought...then maybe she watches through her lashes as he approaches...or maybe she hears his tread on the marble floor. She needs a stronger emotional reaction when he sits down. More detail when he does sit down. Does she feel the cushion compress beneath him. How close is he to where she is sitting? How is he positioned there? All of these are things that could come in to strengthen Isadora's experience (and thereby the reader's).]

[The paragraph is very much improved from the earliest version. Great job!]

Laurie2
August 17th, 2008, 12:12 PM
Glad to have you join us Meira :)

The Original:

Laurie

Thank you for this workshop. I've enjoyed reading these. I'm a little late, but I thought I'd join you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Jenna marched down the hallway and through the west exit, her long, black hair swishing against a pale blue T-shirt. Vivid yellow aspens and deep red oaks clashed with the dull grey ache in her gut. Grimacing, she trekked up the hill that led to the muddy soccer field at the edge of the school grounds. Memories of summer laughter and fresh green grass surrendered to the repulsive thoughts swirling in her brain. Digging her chipped nails into the soft skin of her palm, she tried in vain to block the image of Mr. Morrison’s hand on her knee. His shameless words pursued her, echoing in her head until she doubted her own innocence. I never really trusted him, she lied. Her fragile charade of composure crumbled when she reached a large oak fifty yards from the soccer field. She leaned against the tree and sunk slowly to the ground, only dimly aware of the rough bark that scratched her neck and pulled her hair. Holding her breath, she willed the tears not to come. They disregarded her request, however, arriving in an avalanche of anger and despair. Tucking her head between her knees, she submitted to them. Mr. Morrison, how could you, of all people, disappoint me?

----------------------

-Meira

The Mark Up:

Jenna marched down the hallway and through the west exit [This would be a bit stronger if you show her emerging into outside. Give her a gust of fall air in her face. Otherwise the fact she has exited gets a bit lost with the other descriptive details, which are all great. Just the same, you don't want character movement lost in detail so that the reader has to look back to see that the character is indeed outside.], her long, black hair swishing against a pale blue T-shirt. Vivid yellow aspens and deep red oaks clashed with the dull grey ache in her gut. [This is a great line. I like it a lot] Grimacing, [Grimacing is a reaction to something...as a reader we haven't seen what she is grimacing at. Most of the time you want to keep reactions, grimaces, smiles, laughs, whatever AFTER the thing which motivates them.] she trekked up the hill that led to the muddy soccer field at the edge of the school grounds. Memories of summer laughter and fresh green grass surrendered to the repulsive thoughts swirling in her brain. Digging her chipped nails into the soft skin of her palm, she tried in vain to block the image of Mr. Morrison’s hand on her knee. His shameless words pursued her, [There are a lot of general details here...Mr. Morrison's shameless words...the repulsive thoughts. In order to buy into the character's problem it helps to know what the character is experiencing. You don't have to spill all in the opening paragraph. But giving a specific rather than a general helps the reader buy into the experience. So, rather than having her remember Mr. Morrison's shameless words, having the specific words swirl in her head would be stronger. Ditto with the repulsive thoughts.] echoing in her head until she doubted her own innocence. I never really trusted him, she lied. [The never really trusting him would be stronger where she leans against the tree...and when she gives into the tears.] Her fragile charade of composure crumbled when she reached a large oak fifty yards from the soccer field. She leaned against the tree and sunk slowly to the ground, only dimly aware of the rough bark that scratched her neck and pulled her hair. Holding her breath, she willed the tears not to come. They disregarded her request, however, arriving in an avalanche of anger and despair. [This summarizes. It doesn't really create the EXPERIENCE of trying to hold the tears back...of fighting back the feelings of anger and disappointment. What does it FEEL like in her body as she holds her breath, fighting back the tears?] Tucking her head between her knees, she submitted to them. Mr. Morrison, how could you, of all people, disappoint me?

[The writing is very strong in this piece...you carry the reader through the experience smoothly. Using specific experiences...remembering specific words would strengthen what is already a strong piece.]

Laurie2
August 17th, 2008, 12:33 PM
The Original:

Okay, I'm feeling pretty good about this one. I rewrote it a couple of times and this one seems to show everything you suggested. At least I hope it does.

Sam’s heart beat wildly as she started to ease her small red compact onto the <st1>:place>Schuylkill</st1>:place> Expressway. She was just miles from the city of brotherly love, <st1:city><st1>:place>Philadelphia</st1>:place></st1:city>. With just over a year driving experience Sam found herself on one of the busiest expressways in <st1:state><st1>:place>Pennsylvania</st1>:place></st1:state>. Alone. Cars buzzed by her on the left and the cars behind her on the ramp started blowing their horns, adding to the anxiety she already felt. Swallowing down her fear she pressed down on the accelerator and started to merge. As she did big rain drops began to fall. Slowly pulling out she jumped hearing the long blast of a horn behind her. Looking in her mirror a bus was on her rear bumper. By the time the bus passed her the rain had began falling in sheets. Pelting her little car, making her feel as if she were in a tin can, the cars in the fast lane seemed unaffected by the sudden opening of the sky. Buzzing by her at speeds so fast they were nothing more than multi colored flecks. Feeling tears running down her face, and her stomach churning, she wanted nothing but to be off this terrible highway. Seeing sign that said Mall with an arrow, Sam swallowed hard, looked in her mirror and shot onto the exit. Seeing the mall in front of her, she sighed in relief. <o>:p></o>:p>

The Mark Up:

Sam’s heart beat wildly as she started to ease her small red compact onto the <st1></st1> Expressway. She was just miles from the city of brotherly love, <st1:city><st1></st1></st1:city><st1:city><st1>Philadelphia</st1></st1:city>. [would delete this] With just over a year driving experience Sam found herself [rather than found herself...why not go with her feelings as she navigates onto the highway? In other words, that she is on the highway is already known to the reader...so having her find herself there goes back a step...go forward...tie only having one year of driving experience into what she is doing and how she is feeling about doing it.] on one of the busiest expressways in <st1:state><st1>Pennsylvania</st1></st1:state>. Alone. Cars buzzed by her on the left and the cars behind her on the ramp started blowing their horns, adding to the anxiety she already felt. [It's fine to title her feeling as anxiety, but I would like a word or two that SHOWS anxiety. Something like the cars behind her on the ramp started blowing their horns adding to the hot, tight feeling already filling her chest.] Swallowing down her fear she pressed down on the accelerator and started to merge. As she did big rain drops began to fall. Slowly pulling out [pulling out where...show the experience. As she slowly merged into the lane of traffic...] she jumped hearing the long blast of a horn behind her. [You have her jumping before she hears the horn. Have the horn first as it is the thing which motivates her to jump.] Looking [Avoid starting sentences with words that start in ing. They tend to make your sentences more passive. She looked in the rear view mirror is stronger.] in her mirror a bus was on her rear bumper. By the time the bus passed her the rain had began falling in sheets. Pelting her little car, making her feel as if she were in a tin can, the cars in the fast lane seemed unaffected by the sudden opening of the sky. Buzzing [Avoid starting sentences with words ending in ing. Most of the time it is not the strongest sentence construction. The cars buzzed is stronger.] by her at speeds so fast they were nothing more than multi colored flecks. Feeling [avoid starting sentences with words ending in ing.] tears running down her face, and her stomach churning, she wanted nothing but to be off this terrible highway. Seeing [a] sign that said Mall with an arrow, Sam swallowed hard, looked in her mirror and shot onto the exit. Seeing the mall in front of her, she sighed in relief. <o>:p></o>:p>[/quote]


The end of the paragraph got into starting most every sentence with a word that ends in ing. This is generally a weaker sentence construction. It is also one that generally fills in the spot where you would show the reader the transition in action or emotion that leads to the next action. It would be stronger to show the emotion leading to the tears rather than just jumping to there being tears.

You have some great details. Her stomach churning...the fact that she wants nothing more than to be off the highway are all great details. However, they are largely lost in sentence construction (words starting with ing) that don't let you make the best use of them. Remember that you want to stay in Sam's experience. Step by step...she feels this...which causes her to do this...then she does that which causes her to think or feel the next thing...and so on.

Avoid summary type transitions...like she found herself here or there...show the situation she is in instead. It is stronger for the reader...and if she is experiencing it the reader already knows she is in the situation.

One thing I did find missing is her motivation. Why is she on this road doing this? It doesn't have to be heavy handed...but something that compels her to do this could add another element of pressure.

Laurie2
August 17th, 2008, 01:05 PM
The Original:


Revised exercise 1:
She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding as she swallowed and it left her throat again. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous at her actions and maybe call the police. Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate and showing her freedom...IF she managed to make it.

When she opened the gate, she glanced back at the beautiful garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses blooming, vines carrying bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covering the fences. She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. As hurried as she was, as scared and ready to run, she took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a
cleansing breath, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She stood up and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she now headed. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words seemingly in time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier...the pier. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and they were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as the pelicans took off in majestic flight, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries, mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch her! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.

The Mark Up:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding as she swallowed and it left her throat again. [Need to specify what it is here. Maybe there is a word or two missing?] She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous [maybe reason to notice her actions and call the police or an ambulance] at her actions and maybe call the police. Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate and showing her freedom... [This isn't clear. What does she see beyond the gate when she opens it? What kind of gate is it? I can see if it is a privacy fence and a privacy gate that the expanse beyond it would look like freedom. But if it is just a chain link gate then it wouldn't look like freedom particularly. You need to show the details that provide the experience.] IF she managed to make it.

When she opened the gate, she glanced back at the beautiful garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses blooming, vines carrying bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covering the fences. [why all the words ending in ing here? Roses bloomed, vines carried, jasmine covered would be better...more in keeping with the verb tense of the rest of the piece.] She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. As hurried as she was, as scared and ready to run, [You are telling me here. You need to show me instead. Show me hurried in her actions...show me scared with her emotions and her actions. Weave it in like a tapestry...or a bird's nest. Very small bits at a time. I would like to see description of the garden in the first paragraph...along with a bit more of the physical aspects of fear. What does it feel like inside when you are sneaking and there is a big fear attached to being caught?] she took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a
cleansing breath, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She stood up [this jars me because I didn't know she'd been sitting or stooping.] and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she now headed. [headed now] There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. [Give a little more detail...when did she visit? What was the situation when she visited...why had she been unable to escape then...why now?] Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words seemingly in time [words in her mind seemed to keep time] with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier...the pier. [rather than repeating the pier...maybe show a little of what she sees as the safety of the pier. Why does the pier signify safety?] God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and they [they? the passengers?] were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as the pelicans took off in majestic flight, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel". [This doesn't fit--the pelicans would circle for shrimp and fish..not take off in flight.]

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries, [and] mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch her! [this almost sounds like internal monologue. In which case it would be in italics and would be Now, let him catch me.] Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! [I would like to see her act more as if she had been kept prisoner. If she was a prisoner for very long there would be novelty associated with seeing the sun and with walking out of the watchful eye of her captor.] She turned her face up to the sun and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.

Laurie2
August 17th, 2008, 01:17 PM
The Original:

The revision--thanks for taking a second look!

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin where they’d spent their honeymoon stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but without cheer, not like those scenes depicted on Christmas cards. So, Mark was already there. Knowing him, he’d have dinner made, anticipating her arrival, and her slippers warming by the hearth. Guilt welled up inside her. She tried to focus through tears at the place where she’d known joy a short time ago. Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d happily planted last summer—all of it now filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?<o>:p></o>:p>


The Mark Up:

Harriet stood in the woods at the edge of the clearing. The cabin where they’d spent their honeymoon stood a few yards away. Smoke spiraled up from the chimney but without cheer, not like those scenes depicted on Christmas cards. [It almost seems -- reading a bit further in the paragraph that the smoke spiraling up signals that Mark is here, but that this brings Harriet no pleasure. The line about the Christmas cards was good in the original...but as your meaning has clarified it doesn't seem to work now. It seems more of a distraction. You want to stay with Harriet's feeling...what she DOES feel...;)] So, Mark was already there. Knowing him, he’d have dinner made, anticipating her arrival, [this would flow more smoothly if both dinner made and her slippers warming was in anticipation of her arrival. Move the in anticipation of her arrival to the end of the sentence...after hearth.]and her slippers warming by the hearth. Guilt welled up inside her. She tried to focus through tears at the place where she’d known joy a short time ago. [You need to show tears before you have her focusing through them. What does she feel that motivates tears...then have her trying to focus.] Snow piled on each side of the stone path where Mark must have shoveled it, held dirt and soot, making it dingy. The whole scene, the shakes on the roof, dark brown and wet, the peeling paint on the clapboard siding, the dead pansies drooping over the pots she’d happily planted last summer—all of it [You don't need all of it. You've shown all the things that make her feel sorrow so just have now filled her with sorrow.] now filled her with sorrow. How could so much have changed in just one year?

lindajo
August 17th, 2008, 02:43 PM
Suzzanne pulled into her driveway when she saw Mark leaning aginst her back door. Her eyes narrowed, how dare he. Clenching her jaw tight, she turned off the car and got out, slamming the car door. As she walked briskly towards him, she noticed his face was drawn and haggered. One eye still showed dark bruising. Another fight. As she got closer he appered much leaner than the last time she had seen him. Now he appeared gaunt and skinny. for a couple of seconds, Suzzanne felt sorry for him, but then her anger kicked in and fought it off. She stood at the bottom of the porch and glared at him.

Mark looked at her, then gazed away. As if talking to no one he mumbled, "I'm sorry, there's no place else I can go right now."

Lee Rush
August 17th, 2008, 04:42 PM
The Mark Up:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding as she swallowed and it left her throat again. [Need to specify what it is here. Maybe there is a word or two missing?] She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous [maybe reason to notice her actions and call the police or an ambulance] at her actions and maybe call the police. Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate and showing her freedom... [This isn't clear. What does she see beyond the gate when she opens it? What kind of gate is it? I can see if it is a privacy fence and a privacy gate that the expanse beyond it would look like freedom. But if it is just a chain link gate then it wouldn't look like freedom particularly. You need to show the details that provide the experience.] IF she managed to make it.

When she opened the gate, she glanced back at the beautiful garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses blooming, vines carrying bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covering the fences. [why all the words ending in ing here? Roses bloomed, vines carried, jasmine covered would be better...more in keeping with the verb tense of the rest of the piece.] She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. As hurried as she was, as scared and ready to run, [You are telling me here. You need to show me instead. Show me hurried in her actions...show me scared with her emotions and her actions. Weave it in like a tapestry...or a bird's nest. Very small bits at a time. I would like to see description of the garden in the first paragraph...along with a bit more of the physical aspects of fear. What does it feel like inside when you are sneaking and there is a big fear attached to being caught?] she took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a
cleansing breath, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She stood up [this jars me because I didn't know she'd been sitting or stooping.] and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she now headed. [headed now] There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. [Give a little more detail...when did she visit? What was the situation when she visited...why had she been unable to escape then...why now?] Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words seemingly in time [words in her mind seemed to keep time] with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier...the pier. [rather than repeating the pier...maybe show a little of what she sees as the safety of the pier. Why does the pier signify safety?] God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and they [they? the passengers?] were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as the pelicans took off in majestic flight, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel". [This doesn't fit--the pelicans would circle for shrimp and fish..not take off in flight.]

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries, [and] mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch her! [this almost sounds like internal monologue. In which case it would be in italics and would be Now, let him catch me.] Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! [I would like to see her act more as if she had been kept prisoner. If she was a prisoner for very long there would be novelty associated with seeing the sun and with walking out of the watchful eye of her captor.] She turned her face up to the sun and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.[/quote]

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat as she swallowed and it slid down to the proper place again. She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. The sun felt so good on her face, the scent and sight of the flowers almost bringing tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away? She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. Her fear did not diminish as she moved through the garden toward the gate and the adrenaline pumping in her blood kept her body in the fight or flight mode. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where she would finally be on her way to freedom. The sound of her heart pumping through her veins was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again. Her head swivedl for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive there in the alley or being sick with the loud breathing that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds, only a few more steps and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence and showing her freedom...an alley that led away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.

She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. Her legs almost gave out as she closed the gate behind her and she took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this shade dappled alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head,\, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the Midweat, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the likes of the inverted triangle that made up the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments at least to decide what she was going to do, a place she could run to, where she could go for help. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as a flight of the pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch me! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.

Lee Rush
August 17th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Hi Laurie...Sorry about the length but you know how I get when I start trying to fix your edits!! Kinda long winded for sure!

Laurie2
August 18th, 2008, 11:09 AM
The Original:


Revised exercise 1:
She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding as she swallowed and it left her throat again. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous at her actions and maybe call the police. Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate and showing her freedom...IF she managed to make it.

When she opened the gate, she glanced back at the beautiful garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses blooming, vines carrying bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covering the fences. She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. As hurried as she was, as scared and ready to run, she took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a
cleansing breath, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She stood up and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she now headed. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words seemingly in time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier...the pier. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and they were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as the pelicans took off in majestic flight, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries, mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch her! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.



The Mark Up:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding as she swallowed and it left her throat again. [What left her throat again? You need to be specific. If her heart is pounding and feels like it is in her throat then you need to say that, otherwise the reader comes to this and has no idea what is leaving her throat...and it makes them stop...it yanks them out of the experience...which is exactly what you do not want.] She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic [I like the breath sounding asthmatic...but how about a description of what asthmatic sounds like. In other words, something like she paused at the gate gradually becoming aware of the deep raspy breaths that sounded almost asthmatic even to her own ears. Then have her fight to control the breathing...so that she is interacting with the breath, which makes it a stronger detail.] as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not [maybe she didn't want to give anyone a reason to get nervous...] give anybody the chance to get nervous at her actions and maybe call the police. Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. [You need an action transition here...Have her take the steps as fear pounds in her head and she dreads the hand on her shoulder yanking her back. You want this to be an experience...so that the actions carry the reader...and there is a missing action....she needs a few more steps...but you don't show her taking the steps...you need to show that in order to carry the reader most smoothly.] Then it was only seconds and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate and showing her freedom... [Maybe freedom glistened beyond the gate...show me what is beyond the gate. What is it that exemplifies freedom?] IF she managed to make it.

When she opened the gate, she glanced back at the beautiful garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses blooming, [bloomed] vines carrying [carried]covering bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covering [covered] the fences. She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. [She needs an emotional reaction here. Getting outside the gate and closing the gate seems like an emotional milestone.] As hurried as she was, as scared and ready to run, she took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a
cleansing breath, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She stood up and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she now headed. [headed now] There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought [maybe hoped] it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. [The wording here makes it sound like she waited...stopped...at a standstill but I am sure that is not what you mean. You mean she repeated desperate prayers, half expecting a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Rather than waited which implies stopping, waiting, rather than expecting, or half expecting maybe change waited to expected. This seems to convey the experience more clearly to me.] Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words seemingly in time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. [You need to show this more clearly. The words were uttered or the words repeated in her mind, seeming to keep perfect time with her pounding heart and brisk steps.] If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! [NEVER use duplicate exclamation points.] She knew it [Here is a great place to weave in a bit of her plan. What makes her think the pier spells safety? This is the hook that drags the reader on...so that they read more to find out if she finds what she expects at the pier...and if indeed she is safe or if things turn for the worst at the pier] and it became her focus... the pier...the pier. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright. [This seems a little melodramatic and weakens the rest. Maybe she knows he will kill her. That is stronger...and if that is the type he is...then it works. If not, maybe he will just beat her. In any case...show the reality. Avoid being melodramatic because it makes the reader not trust the judgment of the character if they are over reacting to things.]

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and they were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as the pelicans took off in majestic flight, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, [I am not sure what this means...the pelicans took off from the side of the fancy sailing ship or the pelicans took off when the fancy sailing ship docked??? Create the IMAGE and the experience so that it is clear. You do not want to leave places where the reader is wondering what exactly the character is experiencing] at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel". [If you want to include the smell of the shrimp and fish show that through your character's experience...have her smell shrimp and fish. Show her experience.]

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries, [and] mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch her! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun and smiled happily. [happy might be a bit strong...a bit sudden...unless the keys will completely keep him from finding her...in which case you need to show more the importance of the keys...by having her think about what he won't be able to do without the keys. Most people have duplicate keys so it would seem that the keys would be a temporary rather than a permanent deterrent to him finding her. It's fine for her to feel relief and to rejoice at freedom. But if he ceases to be a threat then that weakens the conflict and the story essentially ends here because she has gained permanent freedom. You need to give her relief but not permanent relief. :)] Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free. [Show me some problems here. She has to get away from this geographic location where the bad guy is. She has no money (I am assuming). She has no transportation. You have wrapped too much up, made it too smooth and tidy, when you need to keep the pressure on.]

Lee Rush
August 18th, 2008, 12:38 PM
My apologies to Laurie....God!! I feel like SUCH a dunce....geeessss. When I posted the revisions...I posted the wrong thing...Shows what happens when you don't sleep much, I guess....The following is the revised version that should have been posted...I'm soooo sorry Laurie!! Just sighs....

Second rewrite:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat as she swallowed and it slid down to the proper place again. She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. The sun felt so good on her face, the scent and sight of the flowers almost bringing tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away? She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. Her fear did not diminish as she moved through the garden toward the gate and the adrenaline pumping in her blood kept her body in the fight or flight mode. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where she would finally be on her way to freedom. The sound of her heart pumping through her veins was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again. Her head swivedl for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive there in the alley or being sick with the loud breathing that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds, only a few more steps and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence and showing her freedom...an alley that led away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.

She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. Her legs almost gave out as she closed the gate behind her and she took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this shade dappled alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head,\, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the Midweat, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the likes of the inverted triangle that made up the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments at least to decide what she was going to do, a place she could run to, where she could go for help. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as a flight of the pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch mer! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.

Laurie2
August 18th, 2008, 01:12 PM
My apologies to Laurie....God!! I feel like SUCH a dunce....geeessss. When I posted the revisions...I posted the wrong thing...Shows what happens when you don't sleep much, I guess....The following is the revised version that should have been posted...I'm soooo sorry Laurie!! Just sighs....

I saw the later version after marking up the earlier version...which didn't look like it had been marked. Here's the mark up...of what I think is this version.

Second rewrite:
Original:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat as she swallowed and it slid down to the proper place again. She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. The sun felt so good on her face, the scent and sight of the flowers almost bringing tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away? She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. Her fear did not diminish as she moved through the garden toward the gate and the adrenaline pumping in her blood kept her body in the fight or flight mode. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where she would finally be on her way to freedom. The sound of her heart pumping through her veins was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again. Her head swivedl for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive there in the alley or being sick with the loud breathing that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds, only a few more steps and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence and showing her freedom...an alley that led away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.

She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. Her legs almost gave out as she closed the gate behind her and she took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this shade dappled alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head,\, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the Midweat, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the likes of the inverted triangle that made up the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments at least to decide what she was going to do, a place she could run to, where she could go for help. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as a flight of the pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch mer! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.

The Mark Up:

The Original -- Revised --

The Mark Up:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat as she swallowed and it slid down to the proper place again. She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal...roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. The sun felt so good on her face, the scent and sight of the flowers almost bringing tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away? She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. Her fear did not diminish as she moved through the garden toward the gate and the adrenaline pumping in her blood kept her body in the fight or flight mode. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where she would finally be on her way to freedom. The sound of her heart pumping through her veins was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again. Her head swivedl for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house. She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive there in the alley or being sick with the loud breathing that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. Then it was only seconds, only a few more steps and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence and showing her freedom...an alley that led away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.

She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. Her legs almost gave out as she closed the gate behind her and she took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this shade dappled alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head,\, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the Midweat, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the likes of the inverted triangle that made up the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments at least to decide what she was going to do, a place she could run to, where she could go for help. God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright.

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as a flight of the pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel".

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch me! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.



The Mark Up:

She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat as she swallowed and it slid down to the proper place again. [I don't care for the swallowing and her heart sliding to the proper place again. As a detail it takes a lot of fancy footwork having it do what you want...and then, having it slide back into place takes the tension off...and you want to keep the tension on. Choose details which intensify the tension, avoid those which dampen the tension.] She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal... [Good...this fits better here than it did in previous versions. I would delete the ellipses and do the roses and so on in their own sentence. Perhaps showing a little bit of the demented one through the roses. Obviously he either takes good care of the plants or he has someone who does. It is an opportunity to show just a glimpse of him through his care of the roses. Half a sentence. No more.] and roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. The sun [bring in specific details. The warmth of the sun, the sweet scent of the flowers, the profusion of vivid colors of the flowers. You are setting this up as a contrast to her captivity...so use specific details to show her experience.] felt so good on her face, the scent and sight of the flowers almost bringing tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away[hint at where...and what that space was like? In the dark? In the basement? In a cell?] ? She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. Her fear did not diminish as she moved through the garden toward the gate [You are telling me a negative...her fear did not diminish rather than showing a positive. Show me her fear...show it escalating or at least not diminishing.] and the adrenaline pumping in her blood kept her body in the fight or flight mode [Adrenaline pumping kept her body in fight or flight mode tells. Show instead. What does it FEEL like in fight or flight mode?]. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where she would finally be on her way to freedom. [Maybe would be one step closer to freedom] The sound of her heart pumping through her veins [delete this. Her heart doesn't pump through her veins. Her blood pumps through her veins. It is stronger without the through her veins bit.] was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again. [and pull her back.] Her head swivedl [swiveled]for another look back [Her head swiveled and she cast a quick look back] but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house. [Start a new paragraph here. The windows and the sensation that someone could be watching, just waiting to snatch her back is a powerful sensation, worth leaving the reader with.] She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive there in the alley [delete] or being sick [delete] with the [delete] loud breathing that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more. [New Paragraph here] Then it was only seconds, [rather than seconds, stay with the steps.] only a few more steps and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence [end sentence] [Describe what she sees beyond the privacy fence and what it means to her. The word showing messes up the flow here.] and showing her freedom...an alley that led away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.

She slipped through the gate and pulled it closed behind her. Her legs almost gave out as she closed the gate behind her [You allude to her closing the gate behind her twice. Streamline it so that her legs almost giving out happens with the first mention of her pulling the gate closed behind her. Only mention it once.] and she took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this shade dappled alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head,\, [?] letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker. [good, this is much smoother...and conveys much more a smooth experience for the reader...one in which the reader is carried along by the experiences of the character.]

The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, [This isn't very clear. Is there a point at which he became the animal? If so, allude to that point...or before he had changed and become cruel or controlling or whatever he has become. You have alluded to him being an animal twice. An animal doesn't tell anything specific. So rather than title him show action on his part that the reader will identify as evil, bad, animalistic] he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been [seen] before. Growing up and living all her life in the Midweat [Midwest], she had never seen such an expanse of water or the likes of the inverted triangle that made up the pier. [this doesn't make sense in terms of what the reader can envision. Stick to what you can show the reader through snippets here.] There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she [maybe she hopes for crowds of tourists to blend into now] thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists. [New paragraph] Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she waited [waited implies stillness. She is not still. She is half expecting him to snatch her back, but that's not the same as waiting. Waiting implies stopping...waiting.] for a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. [Good...this section reads much smoother.] If she could make it to the pier...she would be safe!! [Need a bit of explanation of how the pier equals safety here. What is it about the pier that makes her think that it will spell safety. You need to show the reader...otherwise the reader is left with a question there which drags them out of the story.] She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments at least to [delete] decide what she was going to do, a place she could run to, where she could go for help. [this part doesn't make sense as it is written.] God, if he finds me I know I'll die...if he doesn't kill me, I'll die from fright. [This seems melodramatic what the reader knows of the situation...delete it...see the notes on the previous version]

The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded it's [no apostrophe] full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "Florida air force" as a flight of the[several] pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier, at the fancy sailing ship docked at the side of the pier, at the thick smell of shrimp and fish fed to the ever present "air force personnel". [There is too much in this sentence...too many ats...I get lost. Clarify the image]

Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focussed on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch me! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked her away and kept her prisoner! [This seems well suited to be internal monologue too. If so it would refer to the viewpoint character as me...it's her direct thought.] She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free. [See the notes on the previous version...This is fine in terms of point of view...but it takes away a lot of the tension. You need to keep feeding the reader things to worry about...otherwise the reader has a convenient place to insert a bookmark and walk away...which you don't want.]

Laurie2
August 18th, 2008, 01:29 PM
The Original:


Suzzanne pulled into her driveway when she saw Mark leaning aginst her back door. Her eyes narrowed, how dare he. Clenching her jaw tight, she turned off the car and got out, slamming the car door. As she walked briskly towards him, she noticed his face was drawn and haggered. One eye still showed dark bruising. Another fight. As she got closer he appered much leaner than the last time she had seen him. Now he appeared gaunt and skinny. for a couple of seconds, Suzzanne felt sorry for him, but then her anger kicked in and fought it off. She stood at the bottom of the porch and glared at him.

Mark looked at her, then gazed away. As if talking to no one he mumbled, "I'm sorry, there's no place else I can go right now."


The Mark Up:

Suzzanne pulled into her driveway [I am unsure of the setting here. If this is the first paragraph of a new book then you need to set it up just a tad bit. Have Suzanne passing her house on the way somewhere else and have her see Mark standing there. Then you have a reason for her to be there, which makes the experience smoother for the reader. You do want to dump your characters into the deep end, you don't want to start with a backstory dump, but you need to give the characters a reason for being where they are in the story world when you call "ACTION."]when she saw Mark leaning aginst [against][Okay...she is out on the street, driving down her street on the way somewhere else. She sees Mark leaning against her door. What is the FIRST thing she thinks or feels or does? Show that. Then, what is the next thing she thinks, feels or does? Show that. The order seems a bit off with her eyes narrowing...in the first place you are in her point of view...she wouldn't see her own eyes narrow...or even be aware of it. She would likely either think something or feel something. Then she would turn into her driveway as a reaction to what she thinks or feels. You need to carry the reader smoothly through the experience of the character with enough details and props that the reader is anchored in the character's experience.] her back door. Her eyes narrowed, how dare he. Clenching her jaw tight, [so fare there are physical actions and thoughts...but no feelings. What does she FEEL inside? She is angry at Mark. Why?] she turned off the car and got out, slamming the car door. As she walked briskly towards him, she noticed his face was drawn and haggered. One eye still showed dark bruising. [if it still showed bruising it wouldn't be another fight...it would be a fight she already knew about] Another fight. As she got closer he appered [appeared] much leaner than the last time she had seen him. [Hint at how long ago that was. Was it weeks, months, years?] Now he appeared gaunt and skinny. [gaunt is enough. You don't need to add skinny] for a couple of seconds, Suzzanne felt sorry for him, [What does feeling sorry for him feel like? Describe the feeling as it exists inside her.] but then her anger kicked in and fought it off [fought what off--her feeling of sympathy? You need more detail of the feelings...show the feelings themselves rather than titling them.]. She stood at the bottom of the porch and glared at him. [You could use more mental reality here. She is mad at him. As a reader I get that. I don't necessarily feel her anger, as it isn't described through physical sensation...but I understand that she is angry. What I don't get is WHY she is angry. In order for the reader to jump on this ride with this heroine the reader needs to know why she is mad at Mark. They need to know the feeling is justified or not.]

Mark looked at her, then gazed away. As if talking to no one he mumbled, "I'm sorry, there's no place else I can go right now." [Good use of detail in the dialogue. I can see his dialogue. It is anchored with physical action which hints at his emotion.]

MeiraP
August 18th, 2008, 10:59 PM
Thanks, Laurie. This is a good workshop. I see you are posting more exercises. :)

Draft 2

---------------

Jenna marched down the hallway and through the west exit. A chilly, autumn breeze blew her long, black hair across her face. Aggressively, she reached up and swept it away. Vivid yellow aspens and deep red oaks clashed with the dull grey ache in her gut. Digging her chipped nails into the soft skin of her palms, she tried in vain to block the image of Mr. Morrison’s hand on her knee. She grimaced as she fought to silence the echo of his silky, sinful voice. I’ve seen desire in your eyes, he told her only moments before. We should not have to hide our feelings because of petty, antiquated taboos. His shameless words pursued her, reverberating in her head until she doubted her own innocence. Scowling, Jenna trekked up the hill that led to the muddy soccer field at the edge of the school grounds. Memories of summer laughter and fresh green grass surrendered to the repulsive thoughts swirling in her brain. His sour breath. The errant hair growing on his nose. Jenna had never noticed these things before.<O:p</O:p

A large oak fifty yards from the soccer field offered refuge. Leaning against the tree, Jenna sunk slowly to the ground, only dimly aware of the rough bark that scratched her neck and pulled her hair. Holding her breath, she willed the tears not to come. I never really trusted him, she lied. A burning sensation raced up her throat and shivers crawled across her scalp. The tears triumphed, arriving in an avalanche of anger and despair. Tucking her head between her knees, she submitted to them. Mr. Morrison, how could you, of all people, disappoint me?

lindajo
August 18th, 2008, 11:52 PM
Suzzanne was exhausted after work and the drive home relaxed her..until she pulled into her driveway and saw Mark leaning against her back door. Her heart skipped a bit and her stomach filled with anxious butterflies. "It would be so easy if I didn't care about him any longer." Everytime she saw him, it was a emotional turmoil of lost love, disappointment, and anger. "How dare he show up here again." She hoped he would not see her trembling as she got out of the car and slamed the door closed. As she walked briskly towards him, she noticed his face was drawn and haggered. One eye still showed dark bruising. "He's been in another fight," Suzzanne thought as she got closer. Mark appered much leaner than the last time she had seen him. Now he looked guant. For a couple of seconds, Suzzanne's guard dropped and she almost wanted to go up an hug him, to soothe his soul, but then her anger kicked in and she fought it off the mothering instinct. She stood at the bottom of the porch. She couldn't imagine what he needed from her now. Suzzanne crossed her amrs to hide her trembling hands.

Mark looked at her, then gazed away. As if talking to no one he mumbled, "I'm sorry, there's no place else I can go right now."

( I used quotes for her thoughts because the italic wouldn't kick in) This is not the beginning- of a story- wasn't sure what to do here..

Lee Rush
August 19th, 2008, 07:57 PM
The explanations of how and what happened when he turned into a vicious person is in the first chapter and boy is he nasty!!! This section is after she has had enough and decided to escape, if she can.





She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat. She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal. Roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. She marveled at the garden and the obvious care taken in tending it. He must have gardeners for she didn’t believe he had the patience to do the work himself, and she knew he was too self-important for menial work any way. She had seen too much of him in the weeks she had been here, been his captive.
<o:p> </o:p>
The warmth of the sun, the sweet scent of the flowers, the riot of colors almost brought tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away? How many weeks had she been kept from the light, locked in the closet or cage whenever it pleased him. She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. She kept looking back over her shoulder to make sure he wasn’t following, even though she had locked the deadbolt and taken the keys. Even with that knowledge, her heart was pounding erratically. She was breathing like she had just run a race and in a way that’s what she was doing…running for her life. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where maybe she would be one step closer to freedom. The sound of her heart was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again and pull her back.. Her head swiveled for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house.
<o:p> </o:p>
She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive or sick that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more.
<o:p> </o:p>
Then it was only a few more steps, just a few more and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence. Beyond the gate, she saw the blacktopped alley, more fences that seemed to stretch to the end of the block and flowers! Red and pink, white and variegated hibiscus hanging over the fences from tall bushes growing in other yards. Jasmine twining up into some of the lower branches of trees that overhung the fences. Even sweet smelling orange blossoms sprinkled in the top of the tree that she could see from the gate right across the way. When she looked down the alley, toward the end and the street beyond, she knew that was the way she needed to go. When he had taken her to the pier before, he had turned that way when they left the house through the front door. A floral, shade dappled path that led her away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Her legs almost gave out as she slipped through the gate and closed it behind her. She took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the <st1:place w:st="on">Midwest</st1:place>, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the unusual shape of the building at the end of the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists.
<o:p> </o:p>
Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she walked the pier, trying to decide what to do next, all the time expecting a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier with all the people and security guard presence...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments to decide what she was going to do, and the shops would provide places she could run to, where she could go for help. God, if he finds me I know he will kill me for daring to run away..<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded its full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "<st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Florida</st1:place></st1:State> air force" as a flight of several pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier. A large group was standing near a large sailing yacht docked at the side of the pier. The thick smell of shrimp and fish that were sold to fed to the ever present "air force personnel" almost overpowered the scents of food cooking in the food court.. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focused on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch me! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked me away and kept me prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.
<o:p> </o:p>
But for how long? It only took a few moments for her to realize that although she had come to the only place in town she knew…it was not a good choice. There was only one way on and off the pier.

stargazer
August 20th, 2008, 01:32 PM
Thank you so much Laurie for your time and effort in helping "us" to learn the subtleties of becoming a successful writer. Your selfless spirit is appreciated!!!

<ST1:pTara </ST1:pgrasped the reins firmly in her hand as the mare began the steep climb up the mountain. Ariel forged her way slowly along the dirt path, cautiously placing her hoofs to keep from stumbling. <ST1:p<U1:pTara </ST1:p</U1:ptrusted Ariel’s instincts; they had made this trek together innumerable times. As she began to finally relax, the fresh smell of pine embraced her and she pulled the fragrance deep into her lungs as her thighs clung effortlessly to the saddle. The beginning shimmers of serenity floated tantalizingly through her mind and she smiled. Gazing at the towering pines surrounding her, ducking her head as the needles brushed gently against her cheeks,<ST1:p<U1:pTara </ST1:p</U1:pallowed the solitude and beauty to invade her soul. Her mind had found solutions to difficult problems before up here where the mountains ended and the sky began. Where her mind and emotions could resolve there differences. She hoped to find an answer to the dilemma that was now staring her in the face, begging her to make a decision. <ST1:p<U1:pTara </ST1:p</U1:psaw her life as a journey that had come to a crossroads, much like the paths she saw ahead of Ariel. Two distinct paths. One path that was comfortable, visible and led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Or the path that she had never dared to try. A path unexplored, possibly dangerous, yet darkly compelling. <ST1:p<U1:pTara </ST1:p</U1:pfelt her palms begin to sweat and her heart thundered in her breast as she contemplated doing her life differently. If she chose the unexplored path up here on the mountain, she acknowledged to herself that she was emotionally embracing the erotic relationship being offered to her by Javier. She shivered despite the heat of the day and turned Ariel toward the unexplored path. Toward a man who would welcome her fantasies and desires.<O:p</O:p

Laurie2
August 21st, 2008, 11:15 AM
The Original:


Suzzanne was exhausted after work and the drive home relaxed her..until she pulled into her driveway and saw Mark leaning against her back door. Her heart skipped a bit and her stomach filled with anxious butterflies. "It would be so easy if I didn't care about him any longer." Everytime she saw him, it was a emotional turmoil of lost love, disappointment, and anger. "How dare he show up here again." She hoped he would not see her trembling as she got out of the car and slamed the door closed. As she walked briskly towards him, she noticed his face was drawn and haggered. One eye still showed dark bruising. "He's been in another fight," Suzzanne thought as she got closer. Mark appered much leaner than the last time she had seen him. Now he looked guant. For a couple of seconds, Suzzanne's guard dropped and she almost wanted to go up an hug him, to soothe his soul, but then her anger kicked in and she fought it off the mothering instinct. She stood at the bottom of the porch. She couldn't imagine what he needed from her now. Suzzanne crossed her amrs to hide her trembling hands.

Mark looked at her, then gazed away. As if talking to no one he mumbled, "I'm sorry, there's no place else I can go right now."

( I used quotes for her thoughts because the italic wouldn't kick in) This is not the beginning- of a story- wasn't sure what to do here..

Suzzanne was exhausted after work [This tells...show instead...how does exhaustion feel in her body. Her exhaustion should be almost prop-like in the sense that she interacts with the feeling. She rolled her head from side to side easing the tension from her muscles, enjoying the easy way the car moved in and out of traffic. The drive home always relaxed her. -- Notice that the exhaustion or tension is something she reacts to...it isn't told and then ignored. Part of deep point of view is integrating the feelings...exhaustion...tension...into the meat of the story...so that it is part of the action...so that the character reacts and responds to it in physical ways as well as emotional ways.] and the drive home relaxed her..until she pulled into her driveway and saw Mark leaning against her back door. [Show this in a little more detail. You are telling again...you need to be showing. The tension had almost abated and she felt almost rejuvenated by the time she turned into the alley behind her house. She was almost looking forward to weeding the flower bed, until she saw Mark leaning against her back door. -- This is an exaggeration...but notice that the relaxation she feels is worked THROUGH the action. It is PART of the story. I don't just say she was relaxed...I show her relaxing...show her thinking thoughts she might think if she were relaxed. The feeling becomes PART OF THE FABRIC OF THE STORY...not something that sits on top of the fabric of the story.] Her heart skipped a bit and her stomach filled with anxious butterflies. "It would be so easy if I didn't care about him any longer." Everytime she saw him, it was a emotional turmoil of lost love, disappointment, and anger. [Weave these feelings into the fabric of the story. You are telling me. I want you to show me instead. Integrate the feelings into her action. She feels excitement...disappointment...and anger. How do those things feel physically? How can you incorporate the emotional and the physical and the mental into the fabric of the story so that the reader feels what Suzanne feels? You want the feelings to be PART OF THE FABRIC of the story...not something that sits on top of it.] "How dare he show up here again.[This thought sounds angry...what physical sensations and physical actions go with anger? How does anger feel inside her body? What might she do inside the car if she is angry? Maybe her hands tighten around the steering wheel? Maybe She sucks in a deep breath preparing herself for the emotional battle ahead. These things, if they would be part of what your character would do should be woven in so that they are part of the fabric of the story. If these are not the things SHE would do, replace them with things SHE would do and weave them in. :)] " She hoped he would not see her trembling [Need a hint as to why she is trembling here. Is she trembling from anger...attraction...desire...frustration?] as she got out of the car and slamed the door closed. As she walked briskly towards him, [what are her intentions as she walks toward him? Is she loaded for bear, thinking she will tell him to leave and not come back...or is she wondering what he needs this time...or does she have some other intent?] she noticed his face was drawn and haggered. One eye still showed dark bruising. "He's been in another fight," Suzzanne thought as she got closer. Mark appered [appeared] much leaner than the last time she had seen him. Now he looked guant [gaunt]. For a couple of seconds, Suzzanne's guard dropped and she almost wanted to go up an [avoid phrases that do not add. They slow down the forward momentum of the story. She almost wanted to hug him, is much stronger and more direct than she almost wanted to go up and hug him.] hug him, to soothe his soul, but then her anger kicked in and she fought it [delete] off the mothering instinct. She stood at the bottom of the porch. She couldn't imagine what he needed from her now. Suzzanne crossed her amrs to hide her trembling hands.

Mark looked at her, then gazed away. As if talking to no one he mumbled, "I'm sorry, there's no place else I can go right now."

( I used quotes for her thoughts because the italic wouldn't kick in) This is not the beginning- of a story- wasn't sure what to do here. [It's okay...I make notes about quotes and italics because it is important...if you didn't know the proper rules for using each and were using the quotes instead of the italics in a manuscript you submitted for publication that would not help your chances of publication and at some houses would land your submission in the reject pile. For that reason I mark up things...even when they don't necessarily relate to point of view. Knowledge is knowledge. :) Since I know you know the rules I didn't mark it up on this one.]

Laurie2
August 21st, 2008, 01:38 PM
The Original:



The explanations of how and what happened when he turned into a vicious person is in the first chapter and boy is he nasty!!! This section is after she has had enough and decided to escape, if she can.





She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat. She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal. Roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. She marveled at the garden and the obvious care taken in tending it. He must have gardeners for she didn’t believe he had the patience to do the work himself, and she knew he was too self-important for menial work any way. She had seen too much of him in the weeks she had been here, been his captive.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
The warmth of the sun, the sweet scent of the flowers, the riot of colors almost brought tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it...how many weeks had he kept her locked away? How many weeks had she been kept from the light, locked in the closet or cage whenever it pleased him. She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. She kept looking back over her shoulder to make sure he wasn’t following, even though she had locked the deadbolt and taken the keys. Even with that knowledge, her heart was pounding erratically. She was breathing like she had just run a race and in a way that’s what she was doing…running for her life. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where maybe she would be one step closer to freedom. The sound of her heart was almost the only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again and pull her back.. Her head swiveled for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance to get nervous about her being furtive or sick that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Then it was only a few more steps, just a few more and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence. Beyond the gate, she saw the blacktopped alley, more fences that seemed to stretch to the end of the block and flowers! Red and pink, white and variegated hibiscus hanging over the fences from tall bushes growing in other yards. Jasmine twining up into some of the lower branches of trees that overhung the fences. Even sweet smelling orange blossoms sprinkled in the top of the tree that she could see from the gate right across the way. When she looked down the alley, toward the end and the street beyond, she knew that was the way she needed to go. When he had taken her to the pier before, he had turned that way when they left the house through the front door. A floral, shade dappled path that led her away from this horrible house. IF she managed to make it.<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Her legs almost gave out as she slipped through the gate and closed it behind her. She took a moment to lean against it, trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this alley on a spring morning. She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the <st1>:place w:st="on">Midwest</st1>:place>, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the unusual shape of the building at the end of the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she walked the pier, trying to decide what to do next, all the time expecting a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier with all the people and security guard presence...she would be safe!! She knew it and it became her focus... the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in and perhaps give her a few moments to decide what she was going to do, and the shops would provide places she could run to, where she could go for help. God, if he finds me I know he will kill me for daring to run away..<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded its full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "<st1:state w:st="on"><st1>:place w:st="on">Florida</st1>:place></st1:state> air force" as a flight of several pelicans came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier. A large group was standing near a large sailing yacht docked at the side of the pier. The thick smell of shrimp and fish that were sold to fed to the ever present "air force personnel" almost overpowered the scents of food cooking in the food court.. <o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focused on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch me! Now let him try to find the keys that had locked me away and kept me prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
But for how long? It only took a few moments for her to realize that although she had come to the only place in town she knew…it was not a good choice. There was only one way on and off the pier.



The Mark Up:

The explanations of how and what happened when he turned into a vicious person is in the first chapter and boy is he nasty!!! This section is after she has had enough and decided to escape, if she can.

Okay Lee...it's hard to know what bits to pick when we are working with people's works in progress...in sections other than the very beginning. So...for you, and for anyone else who is reading along...you need to take what is said in the exercise mark ups and process it along the lines of what has already been shown...what has already occurred in your story. It may be that since I am marking it up as a beginning, you could actually start with it as a beginning...but that is something for you to consider. :) Bottom line is it is your story to tell...as an editor my job is to help you tell it as powerfully as you can. Bear in mind though I've only read this bit and my comments are based on it. I don't know what has happened before this portion and I don't know what happens after. :)





She moved through the thick grass toward the back gate, her heart pounding in her throat. [hearts pounding in throats and chests is a bit cliche...so in a final revision I would look for a new way to show her fear and anxiety.] She glanced around as she walked through the garden and was again amazed that such a lovely place belonged to such a demented animal. Roses bloomed, vines carried bougainvillea blossoms up the side of the house and the ever present jasmine covered the fences. She marveled at the garden and the obvious care taken in tending it. He must have gardeners for she didn’t believe he had the patience to do the work himself, and she knew he was too self-important for menial work any way. She had seen too much of him in the weeks she had been here, [delete been here...been his captive is much stronger and having both adds excess words and slows the pace.] his captive.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
The warmth of the sun, the sweet scent of the flowers, the riot of colors almost brought tears to her eyes...it had been so long since she had experienced any of it... [Break the sentence here. This is a high point...and you give emphasis by breaking the sentence. You give emphasis to the next sentence by the break as well.] how many weeks had he kept her locked away? How many weeks had she been kept from the light, locked in the closet or cage whenever it pleased him. [combine these two sentences. Repeating them doesn't add strength, it bleeds off strength. How many weeks had he locked her away in a closet or a cage, keeping her from the light is much stronger.] She wasn't sure she even knew what day it was any more. [Delete. Anymore doesn't add anything. It slows the pace. Delete it.] She kept looking back over her shoulder to make sure he wasn’t following, even though she had locked the deadbolt [deadbolt where? This isn't clear...it doesn't need to be clear so much where the deadbolt is...it does need to be clear why locking the deadbolt and taking the keys makes her feel safer.] and taken the keys. Even with that knowledge, her heart was pounding erratically. She was breathing like she had just run a race and in a way that’s what she was doing…running for her life. Her legs were shaky and she wasn't sure they would hold her long enough to get through the gate and to the other side where maybe [delete maybe -- it hedges -- in her mind she would be one step closer to freedom] she would be one step closer to freedom. The sound of her heart was almost the [show it drowning out the other sounds around her...show her trying to hear and hearing only the sound of her own heart. This will be more powerful.] only thing she could hear and she needed to hear more! She needed to hear if he was behind her, ready to grab her again and pull her back.. [Show her straining to hear over the pounding of her heart. Her head swiveling can be a reaction to not being able to hear. In this way the not being able to hear...straining to hear is more deeply woven into the fabric of the story...into the character's experience, and thereby the reader's experience.] Her head swiveled for another look back but the door was still closed and she saw nobody in the multitude of windows across the back of the house.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
She shook her head as she realized her breath sounded almost asthmatic as she fought to control it. She had to appear normal...not give anybody the chance [anyone a reason] to get nervous about her being furtive or sick that would require assistance... Only a few more steps, that's all...just a few more.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Then it was only a few more steps, just a few more [Transition this with action. You have about three references to more steps...show her taking the steps...and her hand touching the latch. Repeating more steps doesn't strengthen it. In fact it kind of bleeds off power from the first line about only a few more steps] and her hand touched the latch and slid it up, opening the gate in the six foot privacy fence. Beyond the gate, she saw the blacktopped alley, more fences that seemed to stretch to the end of the block and flowers! Red and pink, white and variegated hibiscus hanging over the fences from tall bushes growing in other yards. Jasmine twining up into some of the lower branches of trees that overhung the fences. Even sweet smelling orange blossoms sprinkled in the top of the tree that she could see from the gate right across the way. When she looked down the alley, toward the end and the street beyond, she knew that was the way she needed to go. When he had taken her to the pier before, [you don't need before here. The reader knows it happened before since it didn't happen here.] he had turned that way when they left the house through the front door. A floral, shade dappled path that [delete] led her away from this horrible house. [maybe house of horrors. It's not a bad house...just has bad things that happened there.] IF she managed to make it.<o></o> [I don't think you need this. It is words that convey doubt which she has already experienced, so is redundant and slows down the pace.]
<o></o>
Her legs almost gave out as she slipped through the gate and closed it behind her. She took a moment to lean against it, [be specific what is, gate or fence] trying again to calm her heart and appear normal, or what would pass for normal in this alley on a spring morning. [You don't need this. Appear normal says it well...the rest is excess and slows the pace.] She took just a moment to release the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She leaned back against the fence [She already leaned against the fence. You need a new action or just have her take the breath.] and took a cleansing breath and bowed her head, letting the rest of the tension loose from her shoulders and neck. There were no sounds of alarm or even of curiosity from the neighbors, if there even were neighbors...something she would never know now. [This is excess and can be trimmed. There are neighbors...you've shown their fences. :) The neighbors or lack of them don't add to the scene here, they just slow your pace, so delete this reference to them.]She pushed away from the fence and began a brisk walk away from the gate and beautiful house, starting down the alley like a regular morning walker.<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
The only place she had been since she had come to this city was the downtown area [near the pier] and that was where she headed now. When she had first come to town, when he had still been a human being instead of the animal he had hidden from her, [Be more specific about the actual change in his behavior. Calling him an animal, for the second time doesn't show anything new about their relationship or the way it changed. If you've already covered the past relationship in another chapter you don't need to cover it here, but describing his change in the same way you have before doesn't add anything and slows down the pace.] he had taken her to the pier a few times to show her around. It had been all new to her then, a different type of place than she had been before. Growing up and living all her life in the <st1>:place w:st="on">Midwest</st1>:place>, she had never seen such an expanse of water or the unusual shape of the building at the end of the pier. There had been crowds each time she had visited there and she [hoped that their presence today would make it easier...] thought it would be easier to blend in and avoid discovery in a place filled with tourists.
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Quick desperate prayers repeated in her mind as she walked [to] the pier, trying to decide what to do next, all the time expecting a heavy hand to fall on her shoulder and pull her back. Don't let him come after me, don't let him find me...please, don't let him find me... the words in her mind seemed to keep time with her pounding heart and her brisk steps. If she could make it to the pier with all the people and security guard presence...she would be safe!! [do not use double punctuation marks...even exclamation points.] She knew it and it became her focus... [You don't really need this. You show her focus and her thoughts about the place very well in the next sentence. That makes this redundant.]the pier. Crowded with tourists from around the world, it seemed the perfect place to blend in [Break the sentence here. Start the new one with perhaps it would give her...or if she was lucky it would give her...] and perhaps give her a few moments to decide what she was going to do, [End sentence. Start with the shops...] and the shops would provide places she could run to, where she could go for help. [just where she could go for help.] [You need something to preface this, a shiver a chill up her spine...a sense of foreboding...something to hang the thought on.] God, if he finds me I know he will kill me for daring to run away..<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
The closer she got to the pier, the slower her heart seemed to pound, relief beginning to flood through her as the crowds thickened around her. A pier trolley had just unloaded its full load and the passengers were milling around, exclaiming at the "<st1:state w:st="on"><st1>:place w:st="on">Florida</st1>:place></st1:state> air force" as a flight of several pelicans [either a flight of pelicans or several pelicans. I prefer several pelicans, but mileages can vary.] came in to land near the bait shack at the side of the pier. A large group was standing near a large sailing yacht docked at the side of the pier. The thick smell of shrimp and fish that were sold to fed [feed] to [delete] the ever present "air force personnel" almost overpowered the scents of food cooking in the food court.. <o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Listening to the cacophony of bird cries and mixed languages around her, she moved to the pier wall and gazed over the side as she saw others doing. [would like to see what she sees as she looks down into the water. Is the water clear or murky?] Then she slipped her hand into the pocket of the oversized shorts she wore and pulled out the small ring of keys. Keeping her gaze focused on the water below as if to catch sight of some elusive fish, she dropped the key ring into the water and smiled. There! Now let him catch me! Now let him try to find the keys that had [delete] locked me away and kept me prisoner! She turned her face up to the sun again and smiled happily. Free! Not knowing yet where she would go or what she would do or how she would even manage it...at least for the moment she was free. [I think there is a more direct way of wording this. She didn't know yet where she would go or what she would do, but for the moment she was free.]
<o>:p> </o>:p>
But for how long? It only took a few moments for her to realize that although she had come to the only place in town she knew…it was not a good choice. There was only one way on and off the pier.[Go a bit further with this. If he missed her and came looking for her, there would be no way to get off the pier without passing him. He'd surely spot her in the crowd.] /quote]

Laurie2
August 21st, 2008, 01:50 PM
The Original:


Thanks, Laurie. This is a good workshop. I see you are posting more exercises. :)



Draft 2

---------------

Jenna marched down the hallway and through the west exit. A chilly, autumn breeze blew her long, black hair across her face. Aggressively, she reached up and swept it away. Vivid yellow aspens and deep red oaks clashed with the dull grey ache in her gut. Digging her chipped nails into the soft skin of her palms, she tried in vain to block the image of Mr. Morrison’s hand on her knee. She grimaced as she fought to silence the echo of his silky, sinful voice. I’ve seen desire in your eyes, he told her only moments before. We should not have to hide our feelings because of petty, antiquated taboos. His shameless words pursued her, reverberating in her head until she doubted her own innocence. Scowling, Jenna trekked up the hill that led to the muddy soccer field at the edge of the school grounds. Memories of summer laughter and fresh green grass surrendered to the repulsive thoughts swirling in her brain. His sour breath. The errant hair growing on his nose. Jenna had never noticed these things before.<o>:p</o>:p

A large oak fifty yards from the soccer field offered refuge. Leaning against the tree, Jenna sunk slowly to the ground, only dimly aware of the rough bark that scratched her neck and pulled her hair. Holding her breath, she willed the tears not to come. I never really trusted him, she lied. A burning sensation raced up her throat and shivers crawled across her scalp. The tears triumphed, arriving in an avalanche of anger and despair. Tucking her head between her knees, she submitted to them. Mr. Morrison, how could you, of all people, disappoint me?


The Mark Up:

Thanks, Laurie. This is a good workshop. I see you are posting more exercises. :)

Yes, I tend to post as many exercises as I can conceivably review during a workshop. I think it is really through the exercises...practicing the techniques described in the lessons... that cements the knowledge.

I'm glad you are enjoying the workshop. :) The exercises also allow people to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of others, which I think is good too. :)



Draft 2

---------------

Jenna marched down the hallway and through the west exit. A chilly, autumn breeze blew her long, black hair across her face. Aggressively, she reached up and swept it away. [Good. Very vivid description so far.] Vivid yellow aspens and deep red oaks clashed with the dull grey ache in her gut. Digging her chipped nails into the soft skin of her palms, she tried in vain to block the image of Mr. Morrison’s hand on her knee [block the image from doing what...rising in her mind, filling her mind?]. She grimaced as she fought to silence the echo of his silky, sinful voice. I’ve seen desire in your eyes, he [had told her--since what he sai is something that occurred prior to the tense of the story as a whole] told her only moments before. We should not have to hide our feelings because of petty, antiquated taboos. His shameless words pursued her, reverberating in her head until she doubted her own innocence. [Good. I can feel her response. I can feel her confusion, her sense of betrayal] Scowling, Jenna trekked up the hill that led to the muddy soccer field at the edge of the school grounds. Memories of summer laughter and fresh green grass surrendered to the repulsive thoughts swirling in her brain. His sour breath. The errant hair growing on his nose. Jenna had never noticed these things before.<o>:p</o>:p

A large oak fifty yards from the soccer field offered refuge. Leaning against the tree, Jenna sunk slowly to the ground, only dimly aware of the rough bark that scratched her neck and pulled her hair. Holding her breath, she willed the tears not to come. I never really trusted him, she lied. A burning sensation raced up her throat and shivers crawled across her scalp. [Good physical description of her feelings. I can feel what she feels...and that's the goal of deep point of view] The tears triumphed, arriving in an avalanche of anger and despair. Tucking her head between her knees, she submitted to them. Mr. Morrison, how could you, of all people, disappoint me? [Great job. I think you have it pretty much down.]

Laurie2
August 21st, 2008, 02:04 PM
The Original:

Thank you so much Laurie for your time and effort in helping "us" to learn the subtleties of becoming a successful writer. Your selfless spirit is appreciated!!!

<st1>:pTara </st1>:pgrasped the reins firmly in her hand as the mare began the steep climb up the mountain. Ariel forged her way slowly along the dirt path, cautiously placing her hoofs to keep from stumbling. <st1>:p<u1>:pTara </u1></st1>:p:ptrusted Ariel’s instincts; they had made this trek together innumerable times. As she began to finally relax, the fresh smell of pine embraced her and she pulled the fragrance deep into her lungs as her thighs clung effortlessly to the saddle. The beginning shimmers of serenity floated tantalizingly through her mind and she smiled. Gazing at the towering pines surrounding her, ducking her head as the needles brushed gently against her cheeks,<st1>:p<u1>:pTara </u1></st1>:p:pallowed the solitude and beauty to invade her soul. Her mind had found solutions to difficult problems before up here where the mountains ended and the sky began. Where her mind and emotions could resolve there differences. She hoped to find an answer to the dilemma that was now staring her in the face, begging her to make a decision. <st1>:p<u1>:pTara </u1></st1>:p:psaw her life as a journey that had come to a crossroads, much like the paths she saw ahead of Ariel. Two distinct paths. One path that was comfortable, visible and led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Or the path that she had never dared to try. A path unexplored, possibly dangerous, yet darkly compelling. <st1>:p<u1>:pTara </u1></st1>:p:pfelt her palms begin to sweat and her heart thundered in her breast as she contemplated doing her life differently. If she chose the unexplored path up here on the mountain, she acknowledged to herself that she was emotionally embracing the erotic relationship being offered to her by Javier. She shivered despite the heat of the day and turned Ariel toward the unexplored path. Toward a man who would welcome her fantasies and desires.<o>:p</o>:p


The Mark Up:

Thank you so much Laurie for your time and effort in helping "us" to learn the subtleties of becoming a successful writer. Your selfless spirit is appreciated!!!

You're welcome. I'm happy to help. :-)

<st1>Tara </st1>grasped the reins firmly in her hand as the mare began the steep climb up the mountain. Ariel forged her way slowly along the dirt path, cautiously placing her hoofs to keep from stumbling. <st1><u1>Tara </u1></st1>trusted Ariel’s instincts; they had made this trek together innumerable times. As she began to finally relax, the fresh smell of pine embraced her and she pulled the fragrance deep into her lungs as her thighs clung effortlessly to the saddle. [this portion of the sentence sort of sits out there by itself. It doesn't have relevance to anything else really. You need to either tie it in so that her thighs clinging to the saddle is part of her relaxation, or delete it.]The beginning shimmers of serenity floated tantalizingly through her mind and she smiled. Gazing at the towering pines surrounding her, ducking her head as the needles brushed gently against her cheeks,<st1><u1>Tara </u1></st1>allowed the solitude and beauty to invade her soul. Her mind had found solutions to difficult problems before up here where the mountains ended and the sky began. Where her mind and emotions could resolve there differences. [This isn't a complete sentence and is jarring. You can either tack it on to the previous sentence, after sky began, or make it a complete sentence. It was here her mind and emotions could resolve their differences (like the line by the way] She hoped to find an answer to the dilemma that was now staring her in the face, begging her to make a decision. <st1><u1>Tara </u1></st1>saw her life as a journey that had come to a crossroads, much like the paths she saw ahead of Ariel. Two distinct paths. One path that was comfortable, visible and led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Or the path that she had never dared to try. A path unexplored, [Tighten this up just a little...clarify just a little more. There were two distinct paths...one path that was like the path that led to the meadow she had visited all her life. Another path was like the path to the left that she had never dared to explore. Then new paragraph...start with the paths in her life were similar...or something like that. You need it to be very clear where you are talking about paths on the mountain and paths in her life.] possibly dangerous, yet darkly compelling. <st1><u1>Tara </u1></st1>felt her palms begin to sweat and her heart thundered in her breast as she contemplated doing her life differently. [Be more specific about the choice and the consequences with Javier. I am uncertain, whether the path on the mountain leads to Javier or whether this is still a metaphor for her decision. I think you need more explanation of the issue in her life before she makes a decision. You've led the reader to believe this is a big decision...so not one she would make suddenly or abruptly. You need more exploration of the choices...so maybe she doesn't make any choice at all, but rests the horse at the fork in the road and thinks about her choices.] If she chose the unexplored path up here on the mountain, she acknowledged to herself that she was emotionally embracing the erotic relationship being offered to her by Javier. She shivered despite the heat of the day and turned Ariel toward the unexplored path. Toward a man who would welcome her fantasies and desires. [This sounds like a great opening to an erotic romance...but as I said up a ways, you need to clarify the decision a bit more...have her stew with it a bit more...show the reader what the choice entails. What kind of erotic relationship is Javier offering...why does accepting it make her uneasy?]<o></o>

stargazer
August 22nd, 2008, 09:54 PM
Hi Laurie,
I'm not sure if I made the right decision here, but I am submitting the opening paragraphs from a manuscript I am revising. The reason being that the paragraph I already submitted was already deeply in the story so to try to elaborate on Tara's choices with regard to Javier has already been covered. Unfortunately, I chose a paragraph that made it look like it had just fallen out of the sky without foreshadowing. So here is the opening of chapter 1. I understand completely if you decide not to edit this as it is late in the seminar to ask you to do this. :) stargazer



CHAPTER 1<O:p></O:p>

<O:p></O:p>
<ST1:pTara</ST1:p woke up panting again. She could never remember the dream, but it was always at the same frustrating point that her body would drag her back to consciousness. Always leaving her wanting. She would be so in heat, in need, not just for release, but to feel a hard cock pounding inside her…and then she would remember and the need would lessen, if not go away. Not tonight though. Tonight the need stayed, riding her with a desperation she hadn’t felt before when she awoke. Her mind searched restlessly for a substitute and she was out of the bed before she had a chance to change her mind. Dashing silently downstairs, she went over to the vegetable bin in the pantry. At first she didn’t see them-they had been moved to the bottom shelf. Tara pulled the bin out and smiled. Oh yeah, there they were. Cucumbers. Long, thick cucumbers with a shape that Freud would have been proud to display on his ink blots. They all looked so perfectly phallic, despite there subtle nuances. She selected one at random, washed it and ran back upstairs to her room. Jerking her nightgown over her head, she threw it on the floor as she scrambled back into bed. Her heart was hammering in her ears and the strong analytical part of her mind was trying to rein in the outrageous lengths to which her body was insisting she resort to for satisfaction. She tossed her head in her refusal to deny her body the fulfillment it was demanding. Taking a deep breath, she relaxed on her back and allowed her thighs to drop open in anticipation. The breeze from the ceiling fan felt cool on her wet, swollen lips. <ST1:pTara </ST1:pclosed her eyes and let the faint remaining clouds of her dream take control. Pushing the cucumber slowly over her slick and aching lips, she teased herself unmercifully as she pulsed around it each time she pushed it infinitesimally a little further in-and then pulled it back out.
She was unable to stop the loud moan that tore lose from her throat. God, it had been so long. She gradually stroked the cucumber rhythmically in and out until she was pounding it into her pussy with total abandonment. <ST1:pTara</ST1:p never wanted him to stop. He stretched and filled her completely as he seated his cock inside her with each rough stroke. Reaching down with her other hand, her fingers found her clit and began rubbing it softly, then faster as she felt the spasms starting to grow inside her. “Harder,” she whispered. “Fuck me harder.” He was desperately hammering his cock now and sweat poured off him. She was thrusting urgently as she met each of his penetrating strokes with an upward thrust of her own. She exploded with a silent scream as she convulsed forcefully around his cock…
The spasms grew less intense and <ST1:pTara </ST1:pcame back to earth with a clunk. Had she really just used a cucumber to meet her need to feel a hard cock inside her? To fantasize of a hot and hung guy fucking her? She glanced at the cucumber still in her hand, its skin still shiny and slick with her fragrant juice. She dropped her head back on the pillow and smiled. Damn right-and it had felt sooo freaking good. She fingered her wet lips and felt more of the delicious spasms. God, she’d needed that.
As she lay there reclaiming her breath from the exertion, <ST1:pTara </ST1:punderstood that being in control had given her the ability to enjoy having sex-even if it was with just a big, hard cucumber. You’ve got to start again someplace, her brained teased. Next stop-the real thing.
Yeah right, the devil’s advocate in her right brain shot back. He’ll walk right into your life and you’ll be mesmerized by his cock. In a parallel universe maybe… I wouldn’t stop planting cucumbers in the garden if I were you. And it’s a damn good thing we live in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State><ST1:pCalifornia </ST1:p</st1:State>you can grow them year around.
Sex with a guy is highly overrated anyway, <ST1:pTara</ST1:p conceded grudgingly. Cucumbers don’t demand anything in return, stay hard and they’re low maintenance. As for variety-so many different dimensions to enjoy- and just like real cocks, no two were exactly alike. Best of all, they don’t take something that you’re not offering willingly. I don’t need or want a man in my life. I will grow cucumbers year around and be adequately satisfied- thank you very much.
What about the driving force of a hard cock as it rhythmically delivers thrust after thrust of pure energy…<ST1:pTara </ST1:pignored the voice in her head this time. She was tired of the ying and yang of her mind. She didn’t have an answer. Deep down, she acknowledged that there was nothing-absolutely nothing-like the real thing. And she wasn’t talking Coke here. No siree. Cock. Blue steel cock. Driving like a jack hammer- harder and deeper with each glorious thrust.
Yet she couldn’t do that-not anymore. Or she hadn’t anyway. Maybe it was time to reconsider. Yeah, but her life was satisfying in so many other ways now…and organized. Better to keep it the way it is, she decided. Smiling at the cock-cucumber-in her hand, she put it carefully in her bedside table. For tomorrow night. Turning on her side, the last thought she had turned out to be prophetic one with a twist of irony tossed in for good measure.
Be careful what you think you might wish for <ST1:pTara</ST1:p…
<O:p></O:p>
<O:p></O:p>

Laurie2
August 27th, 2008, 11:17 AM
Hi Laurie,
I'm not sure if I made the right decision here, but I am submitting the opening paragraphs from a manuscript I am revising. The reason being that the paragraph I already submitted was already deeply in the story so to try to elaborate on Tara's choices with regard to Javier has already been covered. Unfortunately, I chose a paragraph that made it look like it had just fallen out of the sky without foreshadowing. So here is the opening of chapter 1. I understand completely if you decide not to edit this as it is late in the seminar to ask you to do this. :) stargazer



CHAPTER 1<O:p></O:p>

<O:p></O:p>
<ST1:pTara</ST1:p woke up panting again. She could never remember the dream, but it was always at the same frustrating point that her body would drag her back to consciousness. Always leaving her wanting. She would be so in heat, in need, not just for release, but to feel a hard cock pounding inside her…and then she would remember and the need would lessen, if not go away. Not tonight though. Tonight the need stayed, riding her with a desperation she hadn’t felt before when she awoke. Her mind searched restlessly for a substitute and she was out of the bed before she had a chance to change her mind. Dashing silently downstairs, she went over to the vegetable bin in the pantry. At first she didn’t see them-they had been moved to the bottom shelf. Tara pulled the bin out and smiled. Oh yeah, there they were. Cucumbers. Long, thick cucumbers with a shape that Freud would have been proud to display on his ink blots. They all looked so perfectly phallic, despite there subtle nuances. She selected one at random, washed it and ran back upstairs to her room. Jerking her nightgown over her head, she threw it on the floor as she scrambled back into bed. Her heart was hammering in her ears and the strong analytical part of her mind was trying to rein in the outrageous lengths to which her body was insisting she resort to for satisfaction. She tossed her head in her refusal to deny her body the fulfillment it was demanding. Taking a deep breath, she relaxed on her back and allowed her thighs to drop open in anticipation. The breeze from the ceiling fan felt cool on her wet, swollen lips. <ST1:pTara </ST1:pclosed her eyes and let the faint remaining clouds of her dream take control. Pushing the cucumber slowly over her slick and aching lips, she teased herself unmercifully as she pulsed around it each time she pushed it infinitesimally a little further in-and then pulled it back out.
She was unable to stop the loud moan that tore lose from her throat. God, it had been so long. She gradually stroked the cucumber rhythmically in and out until she was pounding it into her pussy with total abandonment. <ST1:pTara</ST1:p never wanted him to stop. He stretched and filled her completely as he seated his cock inside her with each rough stroke. Reaching down with her other hand, her fingers found her clit and began rubbing it softly, then faster as she felt the spasms starting to grow inside her. “Harder,” she whispered. “Fuck me harder.” He was desperately hammering his cock now and sweat poured off him. She was thrusting urgently as she met each of his penetrating strokes with an upward thrust of her own. She exploded with a silent scream as she convulsed forcefully around his cock…
The spasms grew less intense and <ST1:pTara </ST1:pcame back to earth with a clunk. Had she really just used a cucumber to meet her need to feel a hard cock inside her? To fantasize of a hot and hung guy fucking her? She glanced at the cucumber still in her hand, its skin still shiny and slick with her fragrant juice. She dropped her head back on the pillow and smiled. Damn right-and it had felt sooo freaking good. She fingered her wet lips and felt more of the delicious spasms. God, she’d needed that.
As she lay there reclaiming her breath from the exertion, <ST1:pTara </ST1:punderstood that being in control had given her the ability to enjoy having sex-even if it was with just a big, hard cucumber. You’ve got to start again someplace, her brained teased. Next stop-the real thing.
Yeah right, the devil’s advocate in her right brain shot back. He’ll walk right into your life and you’ll be mesmerized by his cock. In a parallel universe maybe… I wouldn’t stop planting cucumbers in the garden if I were you. And it’s a damn good thing we live in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State><ST1:pCalifornia </ST1:p</st1:State>you can grow them year around.
Sex with a guy is highly overrated anyway, <ST1:pTara</ST1:p conceded grudgingly. Cucumbers don’t demand anything in return, stay hard and they’re low maintenance. As for variety-so many different dimensions to enjoy- and just like real cocks, no two were exactly alike. Best of all, they don’t take something that you’re not offering willingly. I don’t need or want a man in my life. I will grow cucumbers year around and be adequately satisfied- thank you very much.
What about the driving force of a hard cock as it rhythmically delivers thrust after thrust of pure energy…<ST1:pTara </ST1:pignored the voice in her head this time. She was tired of the ying and yang of her mind. She didn’t have an answer. Deep down, she acknowledged that there was nothing-absolutely nothing-like the real thing. And she wasn’t talking Coke here. No siree. Cock. Blue steel cock. Driving like a jack hammer- harder and deeper with each glorious thrust.
Yet she couldn’t do that-not anymore. Or she hadn’t anyway. Maybe it was time to reconsider. Yeah, but her life was satisfying in so many other ways now…and organized. Better to keep it the way it is, she decided. Smiling at the cock-cucumber-in her hand, she put it carefully in her bedside table. For tomorrow night. Turning on her side, the last thought she had turned out to be prophetic one with a twist of irony tossed in for good measure.
Be careful what you think you might wish for <ST1:pTara</ST1:p…
<O:p></O:p>
<O:p></O:p>


The Mark Up:

Hi Laurie,
I'm not sure if I made the right decision here, but I am submitting the opening paragraphs from a manuscript I am revising. The reason being that the paragraph I already submitted was already deeply in the story so to try to elaborate on Tara's choices with regard to Javier has already been covered. Unfortunately, I chose a paragraph that made it look like it had just fallen out of the sky without foreshadowing. So here is the opening of chapter 1. I understand completely if you decide not to edit this as it is late in the seminar to ask you to do this. :) stargazer


Hi Stargazer,

I'm happy to edit things throughout the seminar and am happy to respond to things throughout the workshop. There are still a few days left...and to be honest this workshop has been a lot easier to teach than those that are confined to a week. Anyway, I'm happy to go over your excerpt. I haven't yet. :-) I always go over them cold...marking as I go...though I do sometimes go back and change my notes if something later clarifies a question that was asked earlier. :)




CHAPTER 1<O:p></O:p>

<O:p></O:p>
<ST1:pTara</ST1:p woke up panting again. She could never remember the dream, but it was always at the same frustrating point that her body would drag her back to consciousness. [The sentence construction here is a bit wordy and takes kind of a long way around the block. I would probably prune it a bit...maybe something like this -- She could never remember the dream, but her body always chose the same frustrating point to drag her back to consciousness.] Always leaving her wanting. [This is not a complete sentence...which is not always a bad thing...but in this instance it is jarring and distracting. You need a subject. The dream always left her wanting.] She would be [would be messes with the reader's perception of the timing of the story. Would be sounds like future tense. She would be so horny in the future when this happened---versus she always woke so horny...which is in the past tense. You are talking about the past...the things that have already happened. The dream was always the same...she always woke up hot and needy--check your verb tenses and make sure that they depict something that has already happened versus something that will happen in the future.] so in heat, in need, not just for release, but to feel a hard cock pounding inside her…and then she would remember [This leaves me wondering--remember what?? It may be that that's exactly what you want the reader to wonder at this point. It could be that is part of your hook. If your goal isn't to build a bit of suspense with what she remembers then you might want to give a broader hint as to what she remembers that makes her need diminish] and the need would lessen, if not go away. Not tonight though. Tonight the need stayed, riding her with a desperation she hadn’t felt before when she awoke. [this portion is a bit jarring. I think it is the when she awoke that is the troublesome spot. It just needs a tweak in the wording to flow more smoothly. Maybe something like --- Tonight the need stayed, riding her with a desperation stronger than what she had experienced after any of the other dreams she'd had.] Her mind searched restlessly for a substitute [substitute for what? This is a long ways from her need for a cock. I would like to see you build the need...describe what need feels like...so that you are SHOWING the reader rather than telling them. So that the reader can experience with her the need she feels.] [She needs to mentally land upon the substitute...she needs to think of the cucumbers here so that the reader knows she is after a cucumber when she dashes out of her bed.] and she was out of the bed before she had a chance to change her mind. Dashing silently downstairs, she went over to the vegetable bin in the pantry. At first she didn’t see them-they had been moved to the bottom shelf. [This tells...show instead. :) Show me her need as she races downstairs to the vegetable bin in search of the cucumber. Show me her opening the bin and looking...feeling frustrated when she doesn't find the cucumber. Show her yanking open the other bin and feeling relief when she finds the cucumber.] Tara pulled the bin out and smiled. Oh yeah, there they were. Cucumbers. Long, thick cucumbers with a shape that Freud would have been proud to display on his ink blots. They all looked so perfectly phallic, despite there subtle nuances. [I like this bit.] She selected one at random, washed it and ran back upstairs to her room. Jerking her nightgown over her head, she threw it on the floor as she scrambled back into bed. Her heart was hammering in her ears and the strong analytical part of her mind was trying to rein in the outrageous lengths to which her body was insisting she resort to for satisfaction. [This tells. You need to show enough her need...and contrast it with her strong, analytical part so that you are furnishing the reader an experience rather than telling them about an experience. What does it feel like physically/emotionally to be this needy...what does it feel like to have her analytical part trying to rein her in? What feelings does she have? What physical sensations? What thoughts? What sensory perceptions?] She tossed her head in her refusal to deny her body the fulfillment it was demanding. [this doesn't really make sense. There is no one to see her tossing her head in refusal...so I am not sure why she is tossing her head here.] Taking a deep breath, she relaxed on her back and allowed her thighs to drop open in anticipation. The breeze from the ceiling fan felt cool on her wet, swollen lips. <ST1:pTara </ST1:pclosed her eyes and let the faint remaining clouds of her dream take control. Pushing the cucumber slowly over her slick and aching lips, she teased herself unmercifully as she pulsed around it each time she pushed it infinitesimally [delete infinitesimally...a little further in covers it.] a little further in-and then pulled it back out. [You need a physical sensation here...something to motivate the loud moan.]
She was unable to stop the loud moan that tore lose from her throat. God, it had been so long. [Since a dream? Since she had pleasured herself...since she had had a man???] She gradually [eliminate gradually. It is stronger without it.] stroked the cucumber rhythmically in and out until she was pounding it into her pussy with total abandonment. [He shows up kind of magically here. You need to transition to him. Tara closed her eyes in concentration letting her fantasy lover fill her mind. Then show me what the fantasy man in her mind is doing to her.] <ST1:pTara</ST1:p never wanted him to stop. He stretched and filled her completely as he seated his cock inside her with each rough stroke. Reaching down with her other hand, her fingers found her clit and began rubbing it softly, then faster as she felt the spasms starting to grow inside her. [Show a bit more of her fantasy man in her mind here...you need for the man in her fantasies, in her mind to be here in the scene with her, even if he is a fantasy. Her EXPERIENCE has him in it...strongly enough she is talking to him...so make him more visual in her mind...more tactile in her mind.] “Harder,” she whispered. “Fuck me harder.” [Show him...where is he in relation to her in the fantasy she is having? Where are his hands...where are her hands? What is his facial expression? Show me the fantasy as if it was a reality...weave back in the REAL reality with the cucumber by having her thrusting it in rhythm with him.] He was desperately hammering his cock now and sweat poured off him. She was thrusting urgently as she met each of his penetrating strokes with an upward thrust of her own. She exploded with a silent scream as she convulsed forcefully around his cock…
The spasms grew less intense and <ST1:pTara </ST1:pcame back to earth with a clunk. Had she really just used a cucumber to meet her need to feel a hard cock inside her? To fantasize of a hot and hung guy fucking her? [this isn't a complete sentence] She glanced at the cucumber still in her hand, its skin still shiny and slick with her fragrant juice. She dropped her head back on the pillow and smiled. Damn right-and it had felt sooo freaking good. She fingered her wet lips and felt more of the delicious spasms. God, she’d needed that.
As she lay there reclaiming her breath from the exertion [I think this is not really necessary...and because it isn't it slows the pace a little], <ST1:pTara </ST1:punderstood that being in control had given her the ability to enjoy having sex-even if it was with just a big, hard cucumber. [I'm not sure from this--and it seems potentially important--is this a new realization or is this something she has known for a long time? You need to show whether it is a new realization or whether it is something that she has been aware of for awhile.] You’ve got to start again someplace, her brained teased. Next stop-the real thing.
Yeah right, the devil’s advocate in her right brain shot back. He’ll walk right into your life and you’ll be mesmerized by his cock. In a parallel universe maybe… I wouldn’t stop planting cucumbers in the garden if I were you. And it’s a damn good thing we live in <st1:State><ST1:pCalifornia </ST1:p</st1:State>you can grow them year around.
Sex with a guy is highly overrated anyway, <ST1:pTara</ST1:p conceded grudgingly. Cucumbers don’t demand anything in return, stay hard and they’re low maintenance. As for variety-so many different dimensions to enjoy- and just like real cocks, no two were [are] exactly alike. Best of all, they don’t take something that you’re not offering willingly. I don’t need or want a man in my life. I will grow cucumbers year around and be adequately satisfied- thank you very much.
What about the driving force of a hard cock as it rhythmically delivers thrust after thrust of pure energy… [replae the ... with a question mark.]<ST1:pTara </ST1:pignored the voice in her head this time. She was tired of the ying and yang of her mind. She didn’t have an answer. Deep down, she acknowledged that there was nothing-absolutely nothing-like the real thing. And she wasn’t talking Coke here. No siree. Cock. Blue steel cock. [The reference to blue steel throws me.] Driving like a jack hammer- harder and deeper with each glorious thrust.
Yet she couldn’t do that-not anymore. Or she hadn’t anyway. Maybe it was time to reconsider. Yeah, but her life was satisfying in so many other ways now…and organized. Better to keep it the way it is, she decided. Smiling at the cock-cucumber-in her hand, she put it carefully in her bedside table. For tomorrow night. Turning on her side, the last thought she had turned out to be prophetic one with a twist of irony tossed in for good measure. [this bit slips into omniscient viewpoint. With limited third person the narrator only knows what the character knows. At this point in the story the character couldn't know that her thoughts were prophetic.
Be careful what you think you might wish for <ST1:pTara</ST1:p…
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Red Dragon
August 29th, 2008, 07:05 AM
Hello Laurie, I've jumped in quite late, I'm sorry. I do hope I'm not too late for this terrific exercise. If it's okay, I'd like to post my paragraph -- which might contain too much for one paragraph. I'll let you be the judge.

Daylight splintered the murky shadows, as Queen Lilith hovered above a forest seething with deadly stymphalian birds. She would make a feast of them later, but now her mission was all that mattered. Clawing back the branches, she searched for the crooked, worn signpost with two arrowed arms that the little postman had insisted was here. She'd come too far to give up her wonderfully diabolical plan. She wouldn't. As she descended she flapped her massive wings to flatten the trees marring her view and scattered leaves and screeching birds. At last she saw it, the old signpost jammed into a muddy mound. She read the glyphs. One road led east towards home and Vlah castle, the other led west to the three witches of Meja. She shuddered. Her metallic scales rippled in nervous excitement and she released a long, fiery breath. Never before had she considered disregarding the Laws of Reason, but now, she must. She rose above the trees and turned west towards the border town between Pravlica and Zares.

Laurie2
August 31st, 2008, 01:37 PM
The Original:


Hello Laurie, I've jumped in quite late, I'm sorry. I do hope I'm not too late for this terrific exercise. If it's okay, I'd like to post my paragraph -- which might contain too much for one paragraph. I'll let you be the judge.

Daylight splintered the murky shadows, as Queen Lilith hovered above a forest seething with deadly stymphalian birds. She would make a feast of them later, but now her mission was all that mattered. Clawing back the branches, she searched for the crooked, worn signpost with two arrowed arms that the little postman had insisted was here. She'd come too far to give up her wonderfully diabolical plan. She wouldn't. As she descended she flapped her massive wings to flatten the trees marring her view and scattered leaves and screeching birds. At last she saw it, the old signpost jammed into a muddy mound. She read the glyphs. One road led east towards home and Vlah castle, the other led west to the three witches of Meja. She shuddered. Her metallic scales rippled in nervous excitement and she released a long, fiery breath. Never before had she considered disregarding the Laws of Reason, but now, she must. She rose above the trees and turned west towards the border town between Pravlica and Zares.


The Mark Up:

Daylight splintered the murky shadows [Good description], as Queen Lilith hovered above a forest seething with deadly stymphalian birds. She would make a feast of them later, but now her mission was all that mattered. [I would end the paragraph here. It creates a bit of a cliffhanger. The action continues in the next paragraph. Gives the reader a moment to sit with her mission was all that mattered...while their eye travels to the next paragraph.] Clawing back the branches, she searched for the crooked, worn signpost with two arrowed arms that the little postman had insisted was here. [you need a bit of a transition here...to carry her into this thought. She needs to peer through the branches and not see any sign. Then since she has faced something that keeps her from her goal the reader is prepped to follow you into a discussion of that plan.] She'd come too far to give up her wonderfully diabolical plan. She wouldn't. As she descended she flapped her massive wings to flatten the trees marring her view and scattered leaves and screeching birds. At last she saw it, [No reason for it here. Extra words slow the pace. This one adds nothing.] the old signpost jammed into a muddy mound. She read the glyphs. One road led east towards home and Vlah castle, the other led west to the three witches of Meja. [This seems another perfect place fro a paragraph break] She shuddered. Her metallic scales rippled in nervous excitement and she released a long, fiery breath. [You need a bit more...need to go a bit deeper here. You need just a hint...what is it about the Meja witches that makes her shudder?] Never before had she considered disregarding the Laws of Reason, [Rather than telling me she had never considered disregarding the laws of reason...what about showing me more of the internal, emotional impact of her decision. At least a hint of why she is going to disregard the laws of reason...what this decision means to her emotionally.] but now, she must. [Why must she? What is her motivation?] [What does she feel inside as she undertakes this action that is different than any she has undertaken before? What is she thinking, feeling, dreading, looking forward to or hoping here?] She rose above the trees and turned west towards the border town between Pravlica and Zares

stargazer
September 3rd, 2008, 02:11 PM
Hi Laurie,

stargazer
September 3rd, 2008, 02:18 PM
Hi Laurie,
I wanted to thank you for all your help. I saw a lot of things I wasn't doing even though I thought I was. I wish I could have revised my last paragraph before the seminar ended, but I ran out of time with other committments. I wanted you to know I have taken each of your editing suggestions and tried to incorporate them as you recommended and can see how much better it flows. I am beginning to realize that I sometimes write like I think in life. I know what I mean-why doesn't anyone else understand? Kind of thinking. I hope to be able to participate on your Saturday nights chats-even if I mainly listen to learn.

Laurie2
September 4th, 2008, 02:36 PM
You're welcome Stargazer. I'm glad to hear that the material covered was useful to you.

I know the feeling of running out of time with so many other commitments. It seemed at the outset of the month like a month was a long time...plenty of time for the workshop...but even so, I am a couple of days past the end answering a few last posts.

I'm very pleased to hear you are incorporating the things you learned during the workshop. That's always music to any teacher's ears, I think. :)

I do hope I will see you at our Saturday evening chats.

I think this Saturday we will be talking about common romance plots and why they work...and how they can be bent to work in various sub-genres.

Laurie


Hi Laurie,
I wanted to thank you for all your help. I saw a lot of things I wasn't doing even though I thought I was. I wish I could have revised my last paragraph before the seminar ended, but I ran out of time with other committments. I wanted you to know I have taken each of your editing suggestions and tried to incorporate them as you recommended and can see how much better it flows. I am beginning to realize that I sometimes write like I think in life. I know what I mean-why doesn't anyone else understand? Kind of thinking. I hope to be able to participate on your Saturday nights chats-even if I mainly listen to learn.